Earliest birds didn't make a flap | Science News

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Earliest birds didn't make a flap

Archaeopteryx, Confuciusornis plumage probably not strong enough to support sustained flight

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3:20pm, May 13, 2010

The wings were willing, but the feathers were weak. Delicate, thin-shafted plumage would have made flapping difficult if not impossible for two prehistoric birds, a new analysis of fossil feathers suggests.

Their feathers probably would have buckled or snapped during strong flapping or sharp maneuvers, so the primitive birds may have been limited to gliding, says Robert Nudds, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Manchester in England. He and paleontologist Gareth Dyke of University College Dublin report an engineering analysis of feathers from the

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