Scientific study suggests dinosaurs flapped their wings as they ran
Sunday, May 5, 2019
In findings published on Thursday in China's and the reported bird flight may have evolved from wing-flapping by running dinosaurs. These findings support the hypothesis flight could have evolved up from the ground, in contrast to models in which active flapping flight evolved after gliding, a passive form of flight., scientists from
For the study, the researchers chose, a dinosaur about the size of a known to have feathered wings but not flight. It weighed about ten (five ) and the researchers estimate it had a top speed of about 18 (8 ). Using modal effective mass theory, the team conceptualized the dinosaur's body as a series of springs and other components, first as a computer model and then as a physical robot. In both scenarios, running at medium speed produced vibrations making the animal's wings flap.
Co-author Jing-Shan Zhao said, "Our work shows that the motion of flapping feathered wings was developed passively and naturally as the dinosaur ran on the ground[...] Although this flapping motion could not lift the dinosaur into the air at that time, the motion of flapping wings may have developed earlier than gliding."
They also attached sets of artificial wings to juvenile ostriches about the same size as Caudipteryx. They found the faster each ostrich ran, the more it tended to flap, with larger wings providing more lift.
John Hutchinson, an evolutionary biomechanicist at London's, questioned the findings, saying Caudipteryx might have dealt with the vibrations by holding its forelimbs tight against its body instead of flapping. "However," he told , "this study does lay groundwork that could be built upon and tested more rigorously. So perhaps it will inspire deeper insight in the future."
Although Caudipteryx is in the same evolutionary group as birds and other theropods, it lived millions of years after flying dinosaurs, such as, were already in the air.
While current consensus among scientists says birds as we understand them evolved fromdinosaurs, there are several competing ideas about how exactly flight developed in these vertebrates. Some scientists believe the first fliers were tree-dwelling dinosaurs who could parachute and glide before they could fly, while some say flight grew up from the ground, from runners.
- Yaser Saffar Talori, Jing-Shan Zhao, Yun-Fei Liu, Wen-Xiu Lu, Zhi-Heng Li, Jingmai Kathleen O'Connor. "Identification of avian flapping motion from non-volant winged dinosaurs based on modal effective mass analysis" — , May 2, 2019
- "Running may have made dinosaurs' wings flap before they evolved to fly" — , May 2, 2019
- Carolyn Gramling. "A dinosaur's running gait may reveal insights into the history of bird flight" — , May 2, 2019