A study reveals an early species used four wings.
A new study from China reveals fossil records of birds that had four wings.
Previous studies had shown that ancient bird species had feathers on their legs, but the latest research took fossils of 11 prehistoric birds that had four wings, counting their legs as wings.
The research team, led by Zheng Xiaoting from the Shandong Tianyu Museum of Nature, wrote that the legs of the birds were “aerodynamic in function, providing lift, creating drag and… enhancing maneuverability, and thus played a role in flight.”
Modern birds like chickens and pigeons also have leg feathers but they are much less developed than their wing feathers, and are probably there to serve as insulation rather than helping the birds to fly.
Paleontologist experts think that modern birds evolved from dinosaurs that had feathers.
One species of ancient bird that researchers theorize flew using four wings is called the Microraptor.
Some researchers suggest that maybe the leg feathers were not used for flight, but rather for display as ornate bird feathers are used to get the attention of a mate.
What do you think? Did these ancient birds fly using four wings?