Tetrapteryx feathered dinosaur, 1915

Tetrapteryx feathered dinosaur, 1915

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Credit: PAUL D STEWART/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Tetrapteryx feathered dinosaur. Bookplate illustration from 1915 of the proto-bird dinosaur Tetrapteryx that was depicted with four feathered limbs. US naturalist William Beebe (1877-1962) proposed this four-winged lifestyle as the mode of evolution of birds. His hunch would be proved right with recent work, long after his death. The fossils of Microraptor confirm this was indeed the morphology of an early feathered paravian dinosaur. Beebe was famous for many accomplishments, but this idea did not gain general acceptance. Perhaps by making the idea his bookplate he hoped it would be remembered. Indeed, since the discovery of Microraptor gui (2003) his idea is now seen as prescient.

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