Biplane dino-soar theory presented at a Geological Society of America Meeting 16-19 Oct 2005 and reported in news@nature 17 Oct 2005. Two years ago palaeontologists in China found a fossil dinosaur named Microraptor gui, which appeared to have imprints of feathers around its limbs and tail. The scientists who described it then suggested that it used these to glide between tree branches, holding its two pairs of “wings” in tandem. Since then palaeontologist Sankar Chatterjee and aeronautical engineer R. J. Templin have studied the fossil in more detail and used a computer model to work out how it may have glided. They found that its hind legs could be moved in backwards and forwards motion, but not spread out to the sides. This led them to suggest that the creature glided with its hindlegs held under its body in a staggered biplane configuration. Chatterjee commented, “It is intriguing to contemplate that perhaps avian flight, like aircraft evolution, went through a biplane stage before the monoplane was introduced.”

Editorial Comment: Let us acknowledge that modern aircraft did not cease being biplanes because biplanes evolved into monoplanes. The biplanes were deliberately changed because materials scientists invented new materials, and aeronautical engineers worked out new single wing designs that were more efficient. Every kind of flying machine that ever flew was individually designed and built as an individual creation by intelligent engineers. Living flying machines show no evidence of being any different. The additional fact that the 4 winged Microraptor gui is extinct, is not evidence that it became extinct because it evolved into a bird with two single wings. It is only evidence that it died out, probably because conditions for flying were better in the past. (Ref. Flight, dinosaurs, birds)