How birds got their wings

Source: How birds got their wings

Modern birds capable of flight all have a specialized wing structure called the propatagium without which they could not fly. The evolutionary origin of this structure has remained a mystery, but new research suggests it evolved in nonavian dinosaurs. The finding comes from statistical analyses of arm joints preserved in fossils and helps fill some gaps in knowledge about the origin of bird flight.

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For a long time now, we have known modern birds evolved from certain lineages of dinosaurs that lived millions of years ago. This has led researchers to look to dinosaurs to explain some of the features unique to birds, for example, feathers, bone structure and so on. But there’s something special about the wings of birds in particular that piqued the interest of researchers at the University of Tokyo’s Department of Earth and Planetary Science.