One of the Stack Exchange's most popular topics is remaking mythological and fantastical creatures with realistic, believable anatomy. Usually, the answers go that for an angel's anatomy to be believable, he'd either have wings like a bat instead of a bird (the former's being essentially very stretched-out hands connected by skin) or have very long arms, a very large chest and hollow bones.
But all these angelic posts have just one thing in common--the angels have the traditional number of wings, that being two.
But millions of years ago, there once lived an aerial vertebrate that is a cut above the rest.
Meet Microraptor zhaoianus. This small dinosaur is unique in that all four of its limbs had been upgraded into wings.
It should make sense, therefore, that the existence of a four-winged dinosaur should make a four-winged angel a possibility. Even so, since the anatomical differences between an aerial dinosaur and an aerial primate are vast, questions need to be taken into consideration:
- What advantages could an extra pair of wings bring?
- How would the wings be positioned during flight?
- Would powered flight be possible?
- If the legs had been converted into wings, would that hinder one's ability to walk on the ground?