A Mesozoic aviary

Published on Feb 24, 2017in Science 41.06
· DOI :10.1126/science.aal2397
Stephen L. Brusatte32
Estimated H-index: 32
(University of Edinburgh)
Abstract
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.
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  • Citations (3)
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References13
Published on Oct 16, 2014in PeerJ 2.12
Dennis Evangelista8
Estimated H-index: 8
(University of California, Berkeley),
Sharlene Cam2
Estimated H-index: 2
(University of California, Berkeley)
+ 4 AuthorsRobert Dudley35
Estimated H-index: 35
(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...
14 Citations Source Cite
Published on Oct 1, 2014in Current Biology 9.25
Stephen L. Brusatte32
Estimated H-index: 32
(University of Edinburgh),
Graeme T. Lloyd18
Estimated H-index: 18
(University of Oxford)
+ 1 AuthorsMark A. Norell53
Estimated H-index: 53
(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...
96 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. Rauhut22
Estimated H-index: 22
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...
86 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. Shawkey28
Estimated H-index: 28
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
Published on Dec 12, 2014in Science 41.06
Xing Xu39
Estimated H-index: 39
(Chinese Academy of Sciences),
Robert Dudley17
Estimated H-index: 17
(University of California, Berkeley)
+ 4 AuthorsDavid J. Varricchio26
Estimated H-index: 26
(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...
90 Citations Source Cite
Published on Oct 26, 2012in Science 41.06
Darla K. Zelenitsky5
Estimated H-index: 5
(University of Calgary),
François Therrien15
Estimated H-index: 15
(Royal Tyrrell Museum)
+ 4 AuthorsFrank Hadfield1
Estimated H-index: 1
Previously described feathered dinosaurs reveal a fascinating record of feather evolution, although substantial phylogenetic gaps remain. Here we report the occurrence of feathers in ornithomimosaurs, a clade of non-maniraptoran theropods for which fossilized feathers were previously unknown. The Ornithomimus specimens, recovered from Upper Cretaceous deposits of Alberta, Canada, provide new insights into dinosaur plumage and the origin of the avian wing. Individuals from different growth stages...
42 Citations Source Cite
Published on May 1, 2015in Nature 41.58
Xing Xu39
Estimated H-index: 39
,
Xiaoting Zheng14
Estimated H-index: 14
+ 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.
50 Citations Source Cite
Published on May 10, 2013in Science 41.06
Julia A. Clarke27
Estimated H-index: 27
(University of Texas at Austin)
Feathers are branched structures consisting of β-keratin—a rigid protein material formed by pleated β sheets—with a hollow central shaft. They are strikingly different from other forms of vertebrate integument such as scales, skin, and hair. Until recently, evolutionary hypotheses envisioned their origin through elongation of broad, flat scales driven by selection for aerial locomotion such as gliding or flapping flight. Over the course of the past two decades, fossil discoveries, especially fro...
28 Citations Source Cite
Published on Dec 1, 2013in Nature Communications 12.35
Gareth J. Dyke26
Estimated H-index: 26
(University of Southampton),
Roeland de Kat10
Estimated H-index: 10
+ 3 AuthorsBharathram Ganapathisubramani23
Estimated H-index: 23
Some early flying dinosaurs, such as the Early Creataceous Microraptor, possessed four wings, but their aerodynamic performance is poorly understood. Dyke et al. show that Microraptor did not require sophisticated wing morphology to undertake effective glides, supporting the view that the origin of feathers in dinosaurs is not associated with flight.
23 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...
10 Citations Source Cite
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Cited By3
Published on Dec 1, 2017in Scientific Reports 4.12
Jordi Altimiras23
Estimated H-index: 23
(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
Published on Jan 1, 2019in Gondwana Research 5.66
Francisco Serrano3
Estimated H-index: 3
(University of Málaga),
Luis M. Chiappe42
Estimated H-index: 42
(Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County)
+ 3 AuthorsJosé Luis Sanz25
Estimated H-index: 25
(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...
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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...
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