Researcher questions whether powered flight appeared on non-avialan dinosaurs

Cortez Deacetis


Graphic: Imagen at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing
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Credit: F.J. Serrano. University of Malaga

Driven flight in animals -that uses flapping wings to make thrust- is a pretty energetically demanding mode of locomotion that requires a lot of anatomical and physiological adaptations. In point, the functionality to produce it has only appeared 4 situations in the evolutionary history of animals: on insects, pterosaurs, birds and bats.

A analysis paper posted in 2020 in the scientific journal Latest Biology concluded that, apart from birds -the only living descendants of dinosaurs-, run flight would have originated independently in other three teams of dinosaurs. A summary that can make a good impact, as it increases the selection of vertebrates that would have formulated this expensive method of locomotion, which, among the dinosaurs, would no for a longer period be an distinctive capacity of birds.

The scientist of the Department of Ecology and Geology of the College of Malaga Francisco Serrano Alarcón has not long ago posted an article in the very same journal, questioning the thought that run flight appeared multiple occasions among dinosaurs.

The researcher of the UMA, member of the Dinosaur Institute (NHMLAC) of Los Angeles, refutes these kinds of summary in the absence of scientific evidence. As he remarks, the parameters utilised by the authors to establish flight ability do not make it possible for differentiation between run flight and passive flight, the latter becoming frequent in several far more animal groups.

This new research, which he done along with the paleontologist Luis M. Chiappe, Vice-President for Study and Collections of the NHMLAC, compares the parameters measured on current animals with run flight functionality, these types of as birds and bats, and gliding animals, for example, traveling squirrels or flying reptiles, amid other folks. What’s more, they added new data on the capability to deliver energy from muscular tissues in addition to the knowledge deemed in the first study.

“Birds are a group of dinosaurs of which we have identified 150-million-12 months-outdated fossils with completely designed wings. Between their closest non-avialan family, we have also identified fossils with sufficiently formulated wings that could offer them with some aerodynamic benefit, whether to glide concerning trees or get thrust to climb and leap more than hurdles. But this does not indicate that they could acquire off by flapping their wings or sustain a powered flight”, describes Francisco Serrano.

In quick, equally authors conclude that, even though they simply cannot lower price the chance that driven flight appeared in other non-avialan dinosaurs, existing proof does not help the speculation advised in the unique paper by Pei et al (2020).




FJ Serrano, LM Chiappe. 2021. Impartial origins for driven flight in paravian dinosaurs? Existing Biology 31, R370-R372.&#13

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