back to article Huge FOUR-winged dino SPREAD LEGS to KILL – scientists

Flabbers around the world were gasted this week, as news emerged of a previously unknown flying dinosaur equipped with feathered legs – giving it the ability to make precision landings or attacks on its prey. Feathery death from above The 125-million-year-old dinosaur is of the Microraptor group and is named Changyuraptor …

  1. Mage Silver badge

    Arrg The Falconer

    He'd love one of these.

    The Falcon for Emperors :-D

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Arrg The Falconer

      You means Hodgesaargh, whose birds dreamed of eating his other ear?

  2. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge
    Coat

    Changyuraptor

    Nice new nick for the missus.

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Changyuraptor

      Is she that aerodynamic?

      1. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Changyuraptor

        This dino is proof that prey targetting is nothing new.

        Also, isn't there an extra "n" in its name?

    2. Dan Paul

      Re: Changyuraptor

      Not if she read your comments Pierre.

      1. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Changyuraptor

        "Not if she read your comments Pierre."

        She doesn't read El Reg...

        ... so I showed her yesterday. Go away with a gentle slap on the wrist and a laugh. Yay for women with a sense of humour.

  3. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Egad! A prehistoric X-Wing dinosaur!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How do they know they were for precision attacks and landings? Maybe animals were just more stylish back in those days.

  5. Thoguht Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Feathers are nothing special

    It's widely agreed now that all raptors (dromaeosaurids) had feathers, so finding yet another one with feathers is really not surprising. If the new microraptorine had NO feathers then that really would be newsworthy.

  6. gerdesj Silver badge

    Archaeologist and an aerospace engineer - clever boy.

    All that speculation without bothering with a wind tunnel or simulation.

    Cheers

    Jon

    PS I'm not blowing 20 odd quid to check up, besides I'm a /. reader as well.

    1. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

      > without bothering with a wind tunnel

      I have access to Nature, so I checked for you. You were right, they did not use a wind tunnel, so I just did in their stead*. Turns out that the fossil doesn't land very stylishly. It also seems to be quite clumsy in mid-air manoeuvres. So you're right, this article is rubbish.

      *Using a piece of basalt to model the fossil, as it comes from the Yixian Formation.

  7. Francis Boyle Silver badge

    Proof

    that Bert Rutan has/will invent(ed) a time machine.

  8. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Happy

    I for one...

    welcome our... What? They're gone already?

  9. Stoneshop Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Say, Lewis

    could you perhaps compare how this attacker would stand up against the F35-whatevers that the Queen Liz is currently not equipped with, and which appear to be catching on fire for as yet undetermined reasons? Both their actual intended role, and related stuff like cost, maintenance, etcetera?

    1. James Hughes 1

      Re: Say, Lewis

      The F35 would clearly well well ahead, right up to the point it caught fire, crashed and burned.

      Microrapter 1 : F35 0.

  10. P. Lee Silver badge

    Extra precise?

    I think your local peregrine falcon would suggest that isn't the case.

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: Extra precise?

      My thoughts exactly. If these winged hindlegs are so nifty, then how come they're extinct?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Extra precise?

        Short answer: life is a competition in which the weapons continually have to evolve to meet changing circumstances.

        Longer answer; over time the environment of the surface of the Earth has changed dramatically, with Ice Ages and warm periods, and continental drift. This has resulted in extinctions and the evolution of new species. The human race (sapiens sapiens) very nearly went extinct in the Mesolithic (we may all be the descendants of just a few hundred South Africans, with a small intermix of Neanderthal and Denisovans for some population groups) so perhaps one tsunami or big volcano eruption at the right moment and it might be a Neanderthal writing this, or there might be no humans at all. Population now tells us nothing about the fitness of a species at some time in the past.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Extra precise?

          Was the downvote from a US Republican who doesn't like the idea of being descended from brown people?

  11. Denarius Silver badge
    IT Angle

    Seen a wedgetail eagle lately ?

    Big with feathered legs, or at least the ones I try to avoid hitting have. They fly well and must land accurately. How else could they get onto those tall nests of sticks in trees with food for the chicks ?

    1. xperroni
      Mushroom

      Re: Seen a wedgetail eagle lately ?

      "Wedgetail eagle" you say? Never heard of it, let's look for some pics...

      Aye, I see what you mean. Feathered legs and rather long tail feathers, alright.

      WTF! Look at the size of that, did that eagle just kill a... a... Wait, what is that? A kangaroo?!

      Ah, so it's Australian. Suddenly it all makes sense.

      1. Martin Budden

        Re: Seen a wedgetail eagle lately ?

        A wedgie eating roadkill can ruin your whole day. You come over a crest at 100km/h, the wedgie takes off but it's big so it doesn't rise fast enough, and the next thing you know the massive eagle has smashed through your windscreen and into your face.

        1. xperroni
          Coat

          Re: Seen a wedgetail eagle lately ?

          A wedgie eating roadkill can ruin your whole day. You come over a crest at 100km/h, the wedgie takes off but it's big so it doesn't rise fast enough, and the next thing you know the massive eagle has smashed through your windscreen and into your face.

          I bet the eagle's day wouldn't fare any better...

          1. Intractable Potsherd

            Re: Seen a wedgetail eagle lately ? @ xperroni

            "I bet the eagle's day wouldn't fare any better." Looking at that thing, I suspect it would just unwrap itself from your bleeding remains, take a quick bite, push the rest of the screen out, crap on you, then fly off to its nest!

        2. Denarius Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: Seen a wedgetail eagle lately ?

          car, shmar. chickenfeed. try hitting one with a plane, or worse, having one have a go at your plane. The loud bang was heard 3000 feet below and two miles away. Plane made it back OK but entire tailplane checked and horizontal stabiliser needed a rebuild. The characters who fly fabric planes have a well founded fear of Oz bird life. Fortunately the local ones around my airfield mostly ignore us when we use them as thermal markers. One nearly rammed me on an inland flight but literally grabbed air with wings and legs extended to brake before it stopped short of my starboard wing tip. I think we both were distracted by the flock of ibis thermalling ahead for different reasons. The one time I left helmet cam behind, mumble mutter. This supports idea that feathered legs have aerodynamic use, but I suspect mostly as airbrakes to allow speed control in swoop attacks.

          As for car damage and off-topic, emus, the Oz version of flightless birds are regarded as much worse to hit than a big roo in the Oz NW and WA. Those skinny legs break and 50kg of annoyed bird arrives thru windscreen.

      2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: Seen a wedgetail eagle lately ?

        Ah, so it's Australian. Suddenly it all makes sense.

        At least use the correct name - it is from the Counterweight continent. Now that really makes sense (provided that you do not ask the library for a list of all the dangerous animals in there).

        1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Seen a wedgetail eagle lately ?

          "At least use the correct name - it is from the Counterweight continent. Now that really makes sense (provided that you do not ask the library for a list of all the dangerous animals in there)."

          Fourecks, methinks. Some of the sheep are safe, however.

          Still: no worries!

          1. Denarius Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: Seen a wedgetail eagle lately ?

            @Michael. Wedgies were shot for years for taking lambs. Seems they were cleaning up carrion mostly. Wedgie pair over the hill from home never bothered my sheep and lambs anyway. Now if only the wedgetails would develop a hunger for foxes that a clot of a pom introduced here...

            BTW, isn't Antarctica a better counter weight than Oz ? Oz is so lightweight in most things, except stupid governments. Where the heck do we find so many idiots ?

            1. Scroticus Canis Silver badge
              Coat

              @ Denarius - Where the heck do we find so many idiots ?

              Genetics mate. Look no further than a feral population of the 'Founding Fathers' who escaped the penal colonies. If they were smart they would not have got caught and sent there in the first place.

              1. Denarius Silver badge
                Happy

                Re: @ Denarius - Where the heck do we find so many idiots ?

                Genetics ? hmm, let consider. Since less than 25% in the 1960s had a convict ancestor and its way lower now that suggests you are right for the wrong reason. Pommie aristocrats and successful con merchants came here and bred, becoming another ruling class. Mkes sense of the senseless.

  12. The Nameless Mist

    4 legged kitten spreads legs ..

    Not quite the same but perhaps far more entertaining

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0AN43MXHoE

  13. A Twig

    Are they sure that the mega bird wasn't just the skeletons of a big bird, and some bits of a smaller different bird that the big one had been eating at the time when it died?

    Wouldn't be the first time...

    1. Scroticus Canis Silver badge
      Happy

      @A Twig

      Are you inferring a Piltdown dino-raptor? Shirley the Chinese wouldn't stoop so low.

  14. Tim Elphick
    Linux

    Can't find it.

    Where's the bit that says how huge it is?

    1. bob, mon!

      Re: Can't find it.

      The graphic implies a size, showing the wee beastie overlaid on a human torso.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019