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LOOK: 'Best Ever' Laser Reconstruction of Four-Winged Dinosaur Released

Mar 06, 2017 08:45 AM EST
Four-Winged Dinosaur Found In China
The new laser stimulated fluorescence technique will help in the study of flight origins of extinct four-legged dinosaurs. A study published in the journal Nature offers the best laser reconstruction of the said species.
(Photo : Journal Nature/Portia Sloan/Getty Images)

Through the years, different representations of dinosaurs species have surfaced. Today, a study presented what experts say could be the best reconstruction of a four-winged dinosaur ever created.

To produce the unprecedented result, an advanced imaging technique was used to unearth details about the wings and other features of the bird-like dinosaur called Anchiornis.

Distinct features such as folds of the skin, drumstick-shaped legs and long forearms are some of the interesting parts of the Anchiornis dinosaur discovered using the new imaging technique. The bird-like dinosaur was found to have chicken-like footpads.

"Anchiornis was originally described as a bird," paleontologist and study Michael Pittman, said in a statement. "But since then, different authors have provided evidence to support its identity as an early bird or as a bird-like troodontid dinosaur."

The best laser reconstruction was a result of the laser-stimulated fluorescence (LSF). To perform the step, a shining high-powered laser is directed towards fossil samples inside a dark room to make it glow. The process includes recording to wavelengths that bounce off.

"Laser-stimulated fluorescence (LSF) imaging can broaden the scope of data available from fossils by revealing morphological details that are otherwise invisible under white or ultraviolet light condition," study authors said in a statement.

Experts say that the most challenging part of studying fossils of extinct species is the lack of samples or soft tissues to compare what they look like when they were alive. This means all details will be squeezed from the bone structures or what's left of it after years of decay. The result of the laser imaging was published in the journal Nature this month.

The four-winged dinosaur that was subjected to LSF, was a fitting case study since the findings can contribute to the understanding of feathering, aerodynamics and even avian origins of the species.

The study found out that Anchiornis is one of the earliest four-winged paravian that is capable of gliding.

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