Birds, bats leave different wakes

Analysis of wind-tunnel data provides details about the creatures’ aerodynamics

By Sid Perkins, 15:31 PM March 24, 2009

The aerodynamic wake left behind a bird in flight is fundamentally different from the atmospheric disturbance produced by a bat, new lab tests suggest. In large part, the disparity stems from the flapping techniques the creatures use as they power their way through the air.

Birds and bats evolved self-powered flight independently, says Anders Hedenström, a biomechanicist at Lund University in Sweden. How is still a mystery: Paleontologists haven’t yet discovered the transitional fossils tha...

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