A Mesozoic aviary

Published on Feb 24, 2017in Science41.04
· DOI :10.1126/science.aal2397
Stephen L. Brusatte34
Estimated H-index: 34
(Edin.: 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)
#1Lida Xing (China University of Geosciences)H-Index: 18
#2Ryan C. McKellar (University of Regina)H-Index: 5
Last.Alexander P. Wolfe (U of A: University of Alberta)H-Index: 47
view all 14 authors...
#1Jakob Vinther (UoB: University of Bristol)H-Index: 27
#2Robert NichollsH-Index: 2
Last.Innes C. Cuthill (UoB: University of Bristol)H-Index: 64
view all 8 authors...
#1T. Alexander Dececchi (Queen's University)H-Index: 8
#2Hans C. E. Larsson (McGill University)H-Index: 22
Last.Michael B. Habib (SC: University of Southern California)H-Index: 10
view all 3 authors...
#1Xing Xu (CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences)H-Index: 41
#2ZHOUZhonghe (CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences)H-Index: 47
Last.David J. Varricchio (MSU: Montana State University)H-Index: 28
view all 7 authors...
#1Dennis Evangelista (University of California, Berkeley)H-Index: 9
#2Sharlene Cam (University of California, Berkeley)H-Index: 2
Last.Robert Dudley (University of California, Berkeley)H-Index: 41
view all 7 authors...
#1Stephen L. Brusatte (Edin.: University of Edinburgh)H-Index: 34
#2Graeme T. Lloyd (University of Oxford)H-Index: 21
Last.Mark A. Norell (AMNH: American Museum of Natural History)H-Index: 57
view all 4 authors...
Cited By5
#1Francisco Serrano (UMA: University of Málaga)H-Index: 3
#2Luis M. Chiappe (Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County)H-Index: 45
Last.José Luis Sanz (UAM: Autonomous University of Madrid)H-Index: 29
view all 6 authors...
#1Jordi Altimiras (Linköping University)H-Index: 10
#2Isa Lindgren (Linköping University)H-Index: 7
Last.Álvaro Garitano-Zavala (UMSA: Higher University of San Andrés)H-Index: 4
view all 5 authors...
View next paperOut of Thin Air: Dinosaurs, Birds, and Earth's Ancient Atmosphere