Saturday, November 10, 2007

How Flight Began

How did flying get started? Did the earliest reptiles to take wing develop their abilities by hopping from the ground, or by jumping between trees? A new paper in Current Biology argues it was the former. Studying the toes of modern birds, early birds, and feathered ground-dwelling reptiles, the authors report that the toes of all types were similar, and did not match those of tree-dwelling reptiles. Accordingly, they argue. flight evolved from running and jumping on the ground, where winglike, feathered forelimbs might have aided in balance and directional control.

Thanks to Kris Winkler, my good friend and indefatigable volunteer researcher, for this item.

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