Dino-bird had wings made for flapping, not just gliding


The Munich Specimen
ANALYZING ARCHAEOPTERYX Researchers mounted the block of limestone with the Archaeopteryx fossil known as “The Munich Specimen” to analyze its wing bones. The examination suggests the ancient dino-bird flapped its wings while flying.

Archaeopteryx was a flapper, not just a glider. The shape of the ancient bird’s wing bones suggests it was capable of short bursts of active, flapping flight, similar to how modern birds like pheasants and quails fly to escape predators, a new study finds.

One of the earliest birds, Archaeopteryx lived about 150 million years ago during the Jurassic Period and spans the evolutionary gap between modern birds and feathered dinosaurs. Fossils of the primitive fowl have been instrumental in the recognition that birds are dinosaurs (SN Online: 7/31/14). But researchers have long wrangled over how well these ancient dino-birds could fly.

Archaeopteryx doesn’t have several features considered essential to flight in modern birds, such as a keeled breastbone to which several important flight muscles attach; a ball-and-socket arrangement that allows the wing to flap fully up over the back and down again; and a muscle pulley system that links chest and shoulder muscles, allowing the birds to swiftly alternate between powerful downstrokes and upstrokes. Previous researchers also have suggested that Archaeopteryx’s plumage was too delicate and might have snapped with vigorous flapping (SN: 6/5/10, p. 12). Based on these observations, the primitive bird was thought to merely…

Marcela
Follow Me

Marcela

COO at oneQube
COO @oneqube | Angel Investor | Proud mom | Advisor @TheTutuProject | Let's Go #NYRangers
Marcela
Follow Me

More from Around the Web

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news from our network of site partners.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest