The discovery of a 127-million-year-old fossil in northeastern China is filling an important evolutionary gap between modern birds and the winged, dinosaur-like creatures that came before them.
Tagged With evolution of flight
The popular conception of pterodactyl flight shows them in a pose with wings and legs spread far apart similar to the way bats do it. But as new research shows, it's very unlikely that flying lizards were able to move their joints and hind legs in such a manner - a finding that could influence the way scientists study mobility and movements in extinct animals.
Owing to its distinctly bird-like features, Archaeopteryx is one of the most intriguing dinosaurs known to science. Since its discovery some 150 years ago, palaeontologists have wondered if the Late Jurassic dinosaur could actually fly. New research suggests the answer is yes - but its flying style was unlike anything seen today in modern birds.
Meet Jianianhualong tengi, a distinctly chicken-like dinosaur that lived 125 million years ago, during the Cretaceous period. This newly discovered species of dinosaur now represents the earliest known common ancestor of birds and closely related bird-like dinos, with a feathering pattern associated with aerodynamics. Its discovery is offering new insights into the evolution of feathers and flight.