|Yutryannus huali, a 30-ft long relative|
of T-Rex. Credit: The Mirror
|A scale model of Microraptor |
(from Alexander et al.)
Alexander et al. found that their Microraptor model was at a minimum, a very stable glider, but probably not capable of active flight.
More recently, Dyke et al. , tested their own model in a wind tunnel. Similarly to Alexander et al., Dyke et al. concluded that Microraptor probably could glide fairly well. Their results support the idea that the ancestors of birds employed four feathered limbs.
This conclusion validates a 1915 prediction by William Beebe that the lineage leading to modern birds included a 4-winged ancestor. Beebe based his prediction on his observation of long leg feathers in some modern bird breeds-- and by a close look at the famous early bird fossil, Acheropteryx.