• Tufan Akbay

Dinosaurs with Flying Skills Except Birds: Triple Improve Flying Skill

The new study revealed that many feathered dinosaurs were more aerodynamic than previously thought.This acquired flying skill has been improved three times.

It is an obvious fact that very few animals have the ability to fly.Dinosaurs have challenges that make flying a more difficult skill to evolve than other forms of locomotion Despite these difficulties, dinosaurs acquired the ability to fly several times.It was useful for many feathered dinosaurs to fly. This conclusion was reached as a result of work carried out by paleontology Michael Pittman and his team at the University of Hong Kong.

It has been understood that the skill of flight was not acquired as a greater aerodynamic skill that evolved in a single lineage, but as a result of experimental trials of different feathered dinosaurs by moving, flapping, fluttering and taking off in different ways.”At the present time, the traditional view of flight is changing; Pittman shared his view that “the view that different groups that are related to each other started flying independently at almost the same time was among the views that were part of this change.”This is in stark contrast to the traditional claim that flight is a rare skill.”

All the information we have about dinosaurs flying comes from birds.This is because birds are actually the last living members of the dinosaur family.After the mass extinction caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago, beaked birds became the only dinosaurs to survive the disaster and carry on the legacy of fearsome reptiles.However, this view is considered new.For centuries, dinosaurs were separated from other ancient lizards because they did not swim or fly.“Dinosaurs were not expected to fly,” Pittman says.It was not only the discovery of feathered dinosaurs that created the change, but the study of fossils with new analyzes and perspectives also led to this change.Paleontologists have also begun to use a method that focuses on the common skills of animals called cladistics, which gives a clearer picture of which dinosaurs are related.

Relating mapping makes it possible to understand how feathered dinosaurs acquired the ability to fly.For example, understanding which non-avian dinosaur and the first birds were related is an important detail in this regard.In addition, paleontologists have studied the aerodynamic abilities of feathered dinosaurs by resorting to engineering techniques.Thanks to these techniques, experts were able to better test which species were flapping their wings and which were moving on the ground.

The research showed that the evolutionary tree of dinosaurs related to birds agrees with the findings of paleontologists.The closest relatives of early birds were dinosaurs in the family called Deinonychosaurs — which included raptor-like feathered dinosaurs like Velociraptor and Trodon, according to the study in question.In the study that followed, paleontologists found that the potential for flight for Deinonychosaurs emerged at least three times, as researchers looked at whether dinosaurs had overcome the mechanical barriers to the wingbeats necessary for flight.

Pitman and his team argue that dinosaurs did the same, considering that all vertebrates, such as birds and bats, leap into the air to fly.Although previous debates have focused on whether dinosaurs ran and jumped "from the ground into the air" or dived "from the ground", regardless of how flight evolved, living animals could be showing that Deinonychosaurs did so by leaping forward.“This result does not exclude the possibility of take-offs from the ground or from height,” adds Pittman. It is known that the birds on the tree also fly with the movement of throwing.

Normally, birds and their closest relatives, such as the magpie-colored small DeinonychosaursAnchiornis, bear anatomical marks of flight ability.These tiny dinosaurs had long hairs and light bones that covered their arms, and strong bones that allowed them to leap after their prey.The researchers also looked at wing load. For example, they looked at the ratio of each Deinonychosaur's wings to their body size.Thanks to this comparison, scientists were able to understand which Deimnonychosaurs could fly and which could not.

Finally, Deinonychosaurs were most closely related to birds. Paleontologists found that Deinonychosaurs had wings that allowed them to fly.Rahonavis, a small birdlike raptor of the genus Unenlagia that lived in the Southern Hemisphere, had skills that made it possible to fly.The four-winged, raven-colored Microraptor from a different branch of the Family Tree had similar abilities.What's more, the researchers discovered several different species, such as Bambiraptor and Buiteraptor, which belonged to different parts of the Deinonychosaur and possessed the necessary qualities for flight.In other words, it is possible to say that flying was not unique to birds. Many non-avian dinosaurs developed aerodynamic skills, but only a few could actually fly.

"The new research is very interesting and reveals new insights into the origins and early evolution of birds," says paleontology FedericoAgnolin at the Bernardino Rivadavia Museum of Natural Sciences, Argentina.In the studies conducted from the past to the present, data that dinosaurs had the ability to fly more than once could not be obtained.Angolin adds that we should forget that this view will change thanks to the genealogy of dinosaurs and the discovery of new fossils.Despite all this, Angolin added, "The new research is indeed promising."

The biggest question for paleontologists is why most feathered dinosaurs could fly, or come so close to acquiring the ability to fly.There are some physical requirements for flying, such as wings to lift body weight off the ground and provide takeoff power.Paleontologists have speculated for some time that some of the dinosaurs' behaviors may have opened the door to their ability to fly."The continued evolution of flight ability is almost related to the fact that some of the feathered Deinonychosaurs' behaviors were associated with this skill," Pitman says.Feathers were used to show off, provide insulation, and make it easier to pounce on prey; flapping gave more control when running uphill or during other activities.In other words, maneuvering more on the ground may have enabled the dinosaurs to acquire the ability to fly.

With the discovery of new fossils, it is possible to understand when and how dinosaurs acquired the ability to fly.Every discovered place will add another piece to fossil paleontological research, explaining when and why dinosaurs acquired the ability to fly.Currently, flight seems to have evolved more than once; experts may, of course, discover a new species of dinosaur that does not have bird ancestors but still flies through the skies. As paleontologists look for new clues, a new discovery about flight in the Dinosaur Age may also come to light.

Sources: Pei, R., Pittman, M., Goloboff, P. A., Dececchi, T. A., Habib, M. B., Kaye, T. G., …& Xu, X. (2020). Potential for powered flight neared by most close avialan relatives, but few crossed its thresholds. Current Biology, 30(20), 4033-4046.