Things With Feathers is a Tumblr where paleoartist and scientific illustrator Emily Willoughby will post science, illustration, dinosaurs, feathers, fossils, and occasionally a little bit of silliness.

 

Changyuraptor yangi is a newly-described microraptorine dromaeosaur dinosaur from the early Cretaceous (Yixian formation) of Liaoning, China.
The animal would have been around 4 feet long in life, and its fossil shows that it was covered in feathers — including, as in its smaller cousin Microraptor, a pair of “leg wings” represented by long paired pennaceous feathers on the metatarsals and tibiotarsus. One of Changyuraptor's most unique features is its voluminous tail feathers, and these feathers constitute the longest of any known non-avian dinosaur, with the most distal retrices reaching around 30 cm in length.
Changyuraptor is also by far the largest “four-winged” dinosaur known, and while this might not be as big of a deal as it sounds (given that there aren’t very many “four-winged” dinosaurs), it does show that small size wasn’t necessarily the gatekeeper to certain volant adaptations. I personally doubt that this animal was doing anything approaching powered flight, but the long tail feathers and multiple sets of long, well-developed lifting surfaces may have been a boon to gliding and controlled descent. The exceptionally long tail feathers therefore might have been used as a sort of “pitch control” device, wherein a large, relatively heavy animal would have needed especially fine-tuned control over rapid falls onto prey or in safe landings from higher ground. As Buzz Lightyear would say, “This isn’t flying, it’s falling with style!”
—
Gouache paint on A3-size hot-pressed illustration board, approx. 5-6 hours.
Gang Han et al. 2014. “A new raptorial dinosaur with exceptionally long feathering provides insights into dromaeosaurid flight performance”. Nature Communications. 5: 4382.

Changyuraptor yangi is a newly-described microraptorine dromaeosaur dinosaur from the early Cretaceous (Yixian formation) of Liaoning, China.

The animal would have been around 4 feet long in life, and its fossil shows that it was covered in feathers — including, as in its smaller cousin Microraptor, a pair of “leg wings” represented by long paired pennaceous feathers on the metatarsals and tibiotarsus. One of Changyuraptor's most unique features is its voluminous tail feathers, and these feathers constitute the longest of any known non-avian dinosaur, with the most distal retrices reaching around 30 cm in length.

Changyuraptor is also by far the largest “four-winged” dinosaur known, and while this might not be as big of a deal as it sounds (given that there aren’t very many “four-winged” dinosaurs), it does show that small size wasn’t necessarily the gatekeeper to certain volant adaptations. I personally doubt that this animal was doing anything approaching powered flight, but the long tail feathers and multiple sets of long, well-developed lifting surfaces may have been a boon to gliding and controlled descent. The exceptionally long tail feathers therefore might have been used as a sort of “pitch control” device, wherein a large, relatively heavy animal would have needed especially fine-tuned control over rapid falls onto prey or in safe landings from higher ground. As Buzz Lightyear would say, “This isn’t flying, it’s falling with style!”

Gouache paint on A3-size hot-pressed illustration board, approx. 5-6 hours.

Gang Han et al. 2014. “A new raptorial dinosaur with exceptionally long feathering provides insights into dromaeosaurid flight performance”. Nature Communications. 5: 4382.

  1. beetlejuicesgf reblogged this from ofbonesandblood
  2. ofbonesandblood reblogged this from pumpkinskull
  3. paleoartblog54 reblogged this from paleoillustration and added:
    paleoart series
  4. isumetric reblogged this from thebiscuiteternal
  5. torrilin reblogged this from ewilloughby
  6. mesmur reblogged this from koryos
  7. paleoartblog138 reblogged this from fuckyeahdinoart and added:
    paleoart fan series
  8. here-at-woi reblogged this from paleoillustration
  9. fallenmuttxiii reblogged this from koryos
  10. thebiscuiteternal reblogged this from skalja
  11. schmias reblogged this from koryos
  12. kellyclowers reblogged this from ewilloughby
  13. t-reqs reblogged this from ewilloughby
  14. exploring-thedarkness reblogged this from ewilloughby
  15. isali3 reblogged this from koryos
  16. ravenqueen3 reblogged this from jellyfishline
  17. jellyfishline reblogged this from koryos
  18. jackalyte reblogged this from koryos
  19. vegangstaparty reblogged this from koryos
  20. wantoup reblogged this from koryos
  21. honeyswept reblogged this from koryos
  22. computeragephilosopher reblogged this from koryos and added:
    LEG WINGS
  23. necromin reblogged this from koryos
  24. bea-winters reblogged this from koryos
  25. mr-leonardson reblogged this from ewilloughby
  26. soleil-devon reblogged this from koryos
  27. blood-and-vitriol reblogged this from pumpkinskull
  28. pumpkinskull reblogged this from kittensandscience
  29. north-wyrm reblogged this from ewilloughby