scinapse is loading now...

A Mesozoic aviary

Published on Feb 24, 2017in Science 41.06
· DOI :10.1126/science.aal2397
Stephen L. Brusatte34
Estimated H-index: 34
(University of Edinburgh)
The evolution of birds from a group of small dinosaurs between 170 million and 150 million years ago has emerged as a textbook example of a major evolutionary transformation in the fossil record ( 1 ). The attainment of powered flight—that is, active flapping that generates thrust—has been widely regarded, sometimes explicitly but often implicitly, as a long evolutionary march in which natural selection progressively refined one subgroup of dinosaurs into ever-better aerialists. However, recent fossil discoveries reveal a much more interesting story that is beginning to be corroborated by biomechanical studies. According to this story, the development of flight was chaotic, with different dinosaurs experimenting with different airborne behaviors using different airfoil and feather arrangements (see the figure), until ultimately only modern birds survived.
  • References (13)
  • Citations (5)
Published on Dec 1, 2016in Current Biology 9.25
Lida Xing18
Estimated H-index: 18
(China University of Geosciences),
Ryan C. McKellar5
Estimated H-index: 5
(University of Regina)
+ 11 AuthorsAlexander P. Wolfe47
Estimated H-index: 47
(University of Alberta)
Summary In the two decades since the discovery of feathered dinosaurs [1–3], the range of plumage known from non-avialan theropods has expanded significantly, confirming several features predicted by developmentally informed models of feather evolution [4–10]. However, three-dimensional feather morphology and evolutionary patterns remain difficult to interpret, due to compression in sedimentary rocks [9, 11]. Recent discoveries in Cretaceous amber from Canada, France, Japan, Lebanon, Myanmar, an...
32 Citations Source Cite
Published on Nov 1, 2016
Luis M. Chiappe45
Estimated H-index: 45
Meng Qingjin6
Estimated H-index: 6
13 Citations
Published on Sep 1, 2016in Current Biology 9.25
Jakob Vinther27
Estimated H-index: 27
(University of Bristol),
Robert Nicholls2
Estimated H-index: 2
+ 5 AuthorsInnes C. Cuthill64
Estimated H-index: 64
(University of Bristol)
Summary Countershading was one of the first proposed mechanisms of camouflage [1, 2]. A dark dorsum and light ventrum counteract the gradient created by illumination from above, obliterating cues to 3D shape [3–6]. Because the optimal countershading varies strongly with light environment [7–9], pigmentation patterns give clues to an animal's habitat. Indeed, comparative evidence from ungulates [9] shows that interspecific variation in countershading matches predictions: in open habitats, where d...
20 Citations Source Cite
Published on Jul 7, 2016in PeerJ 2.12
T. Alexander Dececchi8
Estimated H-index: 8
(Queen's University),
Hans C. E. Larsson22
Estimated H-index: 22
(McGill University),
Michael B. Habib10
Estimated H-index: 10
(University of Southern California)
Background: Powered flight is implicated as a major driver for the success of birds. Here we examine the effectiveness of three hypothesized pathways for the evolution of the flight stroke, the forelimb motion that powers aerial locomotion, in a terrestrial setting across a range of stem and basal avians: flap running, Wing Assisted Incline Running (WAIR), and wing-assisted leaping. Methods: Using biomechanical mathematical models based on known aerodynamic principals and in vivo experiments and...
13 Citations Source Cite
Published on May 1, 2015in Nature 41.58
Xing Xu41
Estimated H-index: 41
Xiaoting Zheng15
Estimated H-index: 15
+ 7 AuthorsYanhong Pan13
Estimated H-index: 13
A recently discovered fossil belonging to the Scansoriopterygidae, a group of bizarre dinosaurs closely related to birds, represents a new scansoriopterygid species and preserves evidence of a membranous aerodynamic surface very different from a classic avian wing.
55 Citations Source Cite
Published on Dec 12, 2014in Science 41.06
Xing Xu41
Estimated H-index: 41
(Chinese Academy of Sciences),
Estimated H-index: 47
(Chinese Academy of Sciences)
+ 4 AuthorsDavid J. Varricchio28
Estimated H-index: 28
(Montana State University)
Research on the origin and evolution of birds has gathered pace in recent years, aided by a continuous stream of new fossil finds as well as molecular phylogenies. Bird origins, in particular, are now better understood than those of mammals, for which the early fossil record is relatively poor compared with that of birds. Xu et al. review progress in tracing the origins of birds from theropod dinosaurs, focusing especially on recent fossil finds of feathered dinosaurs of northeastern China. They...
98 Citations Source Cite
Published on Oct 16, 2014in PeerJ 2.12
Dennis Evangelista9
Estimated H-index: 9
(University of California, Berkeley),
Sharlene Cam2
Estimated H-index: 2
(University of California, Berkeley)
+ 4 AuthorsRobert Dudley41
Estimated H-index: 41
(University of California, Berkeley)
The capacity for aerial maneuvering was likely a major influence on the evolution of flying animals. Here we evaluate consequences of paravian morphology for aerial performance by quantifying static stability and control effectiveness of physical models for numerous taxa sampled from within the lineage leading to birds (Paraves). Results of aerodynamic testing are mapped phylogenetically to examine how maneuvering characteristics correspond to tail shortening, forewing elaboration, and other mor...
16 Citations Source Cite
Published on Oct 1, 2014in Current Biology 9.25
Stephen L. Brusatte34
Estimated H-index: 34
(University of Edinburgh),
Graeme T. Lloyd21
Estimated H-index: 21
(University of Oxford)
+ 1 AuthorsMark A. Norell57
Estimated H-index: 57
(American Museum of Natural History)
Summary The evolution of birds from theropod dinosaurs was one of the great evolutionary transitions in the history of life [1–22]. The macroevolutionary tempo and mode of this transition is poorly studied, which is surprising because it may offer key insight into major questions in evolutionary biology, particularly whether the origins of evolutionary novelties or new ecological opportunities are associated with unusually elevated "bursts" of evolution [23, 24]. We present a comprehensive phylo...
104 Citations Source Cite
Published on Jul 1, 2014in Nature 41.58
Christian Foth11
Estimated H-index: 11
Helmut Tischlinger3
Estimated H-index: 3
Oliver W. M. Rauhut28
Estimated H-index: 28
The discovery of numerous feathered dinosaurs and early birds has set the iconic 'Urvogel' (or 'first bird') Archaeopteryx in a broader context. But this venerable taxon still has the capacity to surprise. A newly discovered specimen from the Solnhofen limestone in Bavaria only the eleventh since 1861 shows a generous covering of feathers all over the body. Of particular note is a hindlimb covering resembling feathered 'trousers'. Analysis of feather distribution on the limbs and tail strongly s...
89 Citations Source Cite
Published on Mar 1, 2014in Nature 41.58
Quanguo Li5
Estimated H-index: 5
Julia A. Clarke27
Estimated H-index: 27
+ 5 AuthorsMatthew D. Shawkey30
Estimated H-index: 30
Sampling of extant and fossil amniotes reveals that the diversity of melanosome morphologies increased sharply around the time of the origin of pinnate feathers in maniraptoran dinosaurs (the lineage leading to birds) and independently in mammals; lizard, turtle and crocodilian skin as well as archosaur filamentous body covering shows a limited diversity of melanosome forms, a pattern consistent with convergent changes in the melanocortin system of endothermic animals.
55 Citations Source Cite
Cited By5
Published on Apr 24, 2019in Alcheringa 1.03
Jun Chen , Robert Beattie7
Estimated H-index: 7
+ 3 AuthorsHaichun Zhang20
Estimated H-index: 20
Source Cite
Published on Mar 28, 2019in PLOS Biology 9.16
Michael B. Habib10
Estimated H-index: 10
(University of Southern California)
Birds utilize a unique structure, called a syrinx, for the production of their vocalizations. The origins of the syrinx are not well understood. New work, utilizing first principles–based models, suggests that a key element in selection for the early syrinx might be the position of this vocal structure: although the larynx sits at the cranial end of the airway, the avian syrinx is located at the base of the airway at the split of the trachea to the lungs. This position may make the syrinx intrin...
Source Cite
Published on Jan 1, 2019in Gondwana Research 5.66
Francisco Serrano3
Estimated H-index: 3
(University of Málaga),
Luis M. Chiappe45
Estimated H-index: 45
(Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County)
+ 3 AuthorsJosé Luis Sanz29
Estimated H-index: 29
(Autonomous University of Madrid)
Abstract Atmospheric conditions are critical for a range of biological functions—locomotion among others—and long-term changes in these conditions have been identified as causal for different macroevolutionary patterns. Here we examine the influence of variations in atmospheric O 2 concentration ( AOC ), temperature ( T air ), and air density ( ρ air ) on the power efficiency, as it relates to locomotion, during the evolutionary history of birds. Specifically, our study centers on four key evolu...
Source Cite
Published on Dec 1, 2017in Scientific Reports 4.12
Jordi Altimiras10
Estimated H-index: 10
(Linköping University),
Isa Lindgren7
Estimated H-index: 7
(Linköping University)
+ 2 AuthorsÁlvaro Garitano-Zavala4
Estimated H-index: 4
(Higher University of San Andrés)
Some biomechanical studies from fossil specimens suggest that sustained flapping flight of birds could have appeared in their Mesozoic ancestors. We challenge this idea because a suitable musculoskeletal anatomy is not the only requirement for sustained flapping flight. We propose the “heart to fly” hypothesis that states that sustained flapping flight in modern birds required an enlargement of the heart for the aerobic performance of the flight muscles and test it experimentally by studying tin...
2 Citations Source Cite