The 4-winged predecessors of our feathered friends
Researchers in China have discovered interesting evidence that the first birds actually had 4 wings instead of just 2.
This meant that birds used to soar through the skies more like a plane than a bird. The research team learnt that the extra pair of wings gave the birds an extra boost which helped them fly quicker. Bird skeletons found revealed that birds used to have ‘stiff’ leg feathers.
It is thought that the birds evolved and shed the second set of wings to improve how the legs worked. This happened around 100 million years ago and has changed the way birds fly forever. Around 11 bird skeletons have been examined which included 5 different species. They all seemed a lot larger than today’s average bird, somewhere between the size of a crow and a turkey.
Some experts have found some flaws in the newly found evidence. There is no way of knowing whether the extra feather was actually used for flying purposes or was used for a mating display.