Archaeopteryx had wings made for flapping, not just gliding | Science News

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

Fossil analysis suggests Archaeopteryx was capable of bursts of flight, like today’s pheasants

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12:00pm, March 13, 2018
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, spanning 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

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