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New research led by the American Museum of Natural History provides evidence that dinosaurs evolved the brainpower necessary for flight well before they actually took to the air as birds.
Archaeologists have unearthed the fossil of a "four-winged" dinosaur bird – indicating that feathered dinosaurs may have been able to fly before the evolution of birds.
The long tail feathers of Changyuraptor, from north-east China, would have provided the stability and speed control required for a safe landing.
At four feet long and weighing 90 pounds, the creature, which lived 125 million years ago, is the biggest dinosaur of its type yet discovered.
The well-preserved fossil shows that its body was cloaked by a full set of feathers and, in comparison with its body size, the foot-long tail feathers were unusually long.