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Flapping baby birds give clues to origin of flight

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posted on Aug, 30 2014 @ 01:56 PM
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Flapping baby birds give clues to origin of flight


How did the earliest birds take wing? Did they fall from trees and learn to flap their forelimbs to avoid crashing? Or did they run along the ground and pump their "arms" to get aloft?

The answer is buried 150 million years in the past, but a new University of California, Berkeley, study provides a new piece of evidence -- birds have an innate ability to maneuver in midair, a talent that could have helped their ancestors learn to fly rather than fall from a perch.

The study looked at how baby birds, in this case chukar partridges, pheasant-like game birds from Eurasia, react when they fall upside down.

The researchers, Dennis Evangelista, now a postdoctoral researcher at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and Robert Dudley, UC Berkeley professor of integrative biology, found that even ungainly, day-old baby birds successfully use their flapping wings to right themselves when they fall from a nest, a skill that improves with age until they become coordinated and graceful flyers.

"From day one, post-hatching, 25 percent of these birds can basically roll in midair and land on their feet when you drop them," said Dudley, who also is affiliated with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Balboa, Panama. "This suggests that even rudimentary wings can serve a very useful aerodynamic purpose."

Flapping and rolling

The nestlings right themselves by pumping their wings asymmetrically to flip or roll. By nine days after hatching, 100 percent of the birds in the study had developed coordinated or symmetric flapping, plus body pitch control to right themselves.

"These abilities develop very quickly after hatching, and occur before other previously described uses of the wings, such as for weight support during wing-assisted incline running," said Evangelista, who emphasized that no chukar chicks were injured in the process. "The results highlight the importance of maneuvering and control in development and evolution of flight in birds."

Dudley has argued for a decade that midair maneuverability preceded the development of flapping flight and allowed the ancestors of today's birds to effectively use their forelimbs as rudimentary wings. The new study shows that aerial righting using uncoordinated, asymmetric wing flapping is a very early development.

Righting behavior probably evolved because "nobody wants to be upside down, and it's particularly dangerous if you're falling in midair," Dudley said. "But once animals without wings have this innate aerial righting behavior, when wings came along it became easier, quicker and more efficient."

Dudley noted that some scientists hypothesize that true powered flight originated in the theropod dinosaurs, the ancestors to birds, when they used symmetric wing flapping while running up an incline, a behavior known as wing-assisted incline running, or WAIR. WAIR proponents argue that the wings assist running by providing lift, like the spoiler on a race car, and that the ability to steer or maneuver is absent early in evolution.


This study seems to show how the origin of flight got it's start, not from WAIR but from the need to right itself during a fall & try to make a softer landing.

They tested this with other things too, from lizards and lemurs to ants. They all use various parts of their bodies to avoid hard landings on the ground. Which makes sense because a hard landing could mean death. Practically every animal that has been tested is able to turn upright, and a great many, even ones that do not look like fliers, have some ability to steer or maneuver in the air.




posted on Sep, 3 2014 @ 04:30 PM
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S&F

Thank you for sharing this.

I had wondered if it was WAIR that led to animals flying or if it was something else.



posted on Sep, 3 2014 @ 04:33 PM
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a reply to: knoledgeispower




How did the earliest birds take wing? Did they fall from trees and learn to flap their forelimbs to avoid crashing?


Uhm, no! How did they get on the tree in the first place then?



posted on Sep, 3 2014 @ 05:16 PM
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a reply to: Hellas

I imagine the same way any other creature gets up a tree, they climb.



posted on Sep, 3 2014 @ 06:24 PM
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originally posted by: Sabiduria
a reply to: Hellas

I imagine the same way any other creature gets up a tree, they climb.


How would a bird climb a tree and what for? And nest up there? Makes no sense if they didn't fly.



posted on Sep, 3 2014 @ 06:37 PM
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a reply to: Hellas

to escape a predator, I don't know, I wasn't alive back then.

Birds have feet & they might have used their wings to help them climb.

I've seen penguins climb steep cliff faces & they can't fly. ((I can't recall which penguin it was, I saw it the other night on an Oasis show))



posted on Sep, 3 2014 @ 07:28 PM
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a reply to: Hellas

My guess is they used their feet, beak and wings to get up there. As I wasn't alive back then, I can't say for sure.

What is your theory then?



posted on Sep, 3 2014 @ 07:32 PM
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a reply to: knoledgeispower

Hm, this is a very good theory. Makes sense.

That means alot coming from me, I'm usually so critical about theories.

S&F, and a sincere thanks for sharing this theory with us!



posted on Sep, 4 2014 @ 02:23 AM
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a reply to: swanne

Your welcome


It made sense to me, especially when they tested it on other animals like lizards. It is instinct to try to keep yourself from getting too hurt when falling, especially when it could mean death for some.



posted on Sep, 4 2014 @ 04:42 AM
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originally posted by: knoledgeispower
a reply to: Hellas

My guess is they used their feet, beak and wings to get up there. As I wasn't alive back then, I can't say for sure.

What is your theory then?


I dont theorise about stuff like this.. My answer is God made them



posted on Sep, 4 2014 @ 04:55 AM
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originally posted by: knoledgeispower
Flapping baby birds give clues to origin of flight


How did the earliest birds take wing? Did they fall from trees and learn to flap their forelimbs to avoid crashing? Or did they run along the ground and pump their "arms" to get aloft?

The answer is buried 150 million years in the past, but a new University of California, Berkeley, study provides a new piece of evidence -- birds have an innate ability to maneuver in midair, a talent that could have helped their ancestors learn to fly rather than fall from a perch.

The study looked at how baby birds, in this case chukar partridges, pheasant-like game birds from Eurasia, react when they fall upside down.

The researchers, Dennis Evangelista, now a postdoctoral researcher at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and Robert Dudley, UC Berkeley professor of integrative biology, found that even ungainly, day-old baby birds successfully use their flapping wings to right themselves when they fall from a nest, a skill that improves with age until they become coordinated and graceful flyers.

"From day one, post-hatching, 25 percent of these birds can basically roll in midair and land on their feet when you drop them," said Dudley, who also is affiliated with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Balboa, Panama. "This suggests that even rudimentary wings can serve a very useful aerodynamic purpose."

Flapping and rolling

The nestlings right themselves by pumping their wings asymmetrically to flip or roll. By nine days after hatching, 100 percent of the birds in the study had developed coordinated or symmetric flapping, plus body pitch control to right themselves.

"These abilities develop very quickly after hatching, and occur before other previously described uses of the wings, such as for weight support during wing-assisted incline running," said Evangelista, who emphasized that no chukar chicks were injured in the process. "The results highlight the importance of maneuvering and control in development and evolution of flight in birds."

Dudley has argued for a decade that midair maneuverability preceded the development of flapping flight and allowed the ancestors of today's birds to effectively use their forelimbs as rudimentary wings. The new study shows that aerial righting using uncoordinated, asymmetric wing flapping is a very early development.

Righting behavior probably evolved because "nobody wants to be upside down, and it's particularly dangerous if you're falling in midair," Dudley said. "But once animals without wings have this innate aerial righting behavior, when wings came along it became easier, quicker and more efficient."

Dudley noted that some scientists hypothesize that true powered flight originated in the theropod dinosaurs, the ancestors to birds, when they used symmetric wing flapping while running up an incline, a behavior known as wing-assisted incline running, or WAIR. WAIR proponents argue that the wings assist running by providing lift, like the spoiler on a race car, and that the ability to steer or maneuver is absent early in evolution.


This study seems to show how the origin of flight got it's start, not from WAIR but from the need to right itself during a fall & try to make a softer landing.

They tested this with other things too, from lizards and lemurs to ants. They all use various parts of their bodies to avoid hard landings on the ground. Which makes sense because a hard landing could mean death. Practically every animal that has been tested is able to turn upright, and a great many, even ones that do not look like fliers, have some ability to steer or maneuver in the air.



try it with hamas.

sorry, i don't think they learned to fly.

they flew or they didn't.

like fatah.



posted on Sep, 4 2014 @ 05:41 AM
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So these researchers took baby birds (and apparently other animals) and dropped them from a height on their heads? Calling Dr. Mengele. Did they get paid for this? I suppose bullies, grown up, can get jobs they enjoy, but this one has overtones of meanness all wrapped up with a bow/excuse called 'testing scientific theory'.
edit on 4-9-2014 by Aleister because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 4 2014 @ 02:15 PM
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originally posted by: Hellas
a reply to: knoledgeispower




How did the earliest birds take wing? Did they fall from trees and learn to flap their forelimbs to avoid crashing?


Uhm, no! How did they get on the tree in the first place then?


Um yes. Wings are limbs, limbs with claws for climbing. Check out Hoatzin chicks.



posted on Sep, 4 2014 @ 03:17 PM
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a reply to: Aleister

Obviously there is something to cushion their fall. You don't have to think so negatively



posted on Sep, 4 2014 @ 03:18 PM
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a reply to: Hellas

I take it you don't believe in evolution then?



posted on Sep, 4 2014 @ 03:21 PM
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originally posted by: Hellas

originally posted by: knoledgeispower
a reply to: Hellas

My guess is they used their feet, beak and wings to get up there. As I wasn't alive back then, I can't say for sure.

What is your theory then?


I dont theorise about stuff like this.. My answer is God made them


Whelp closed the book on that issue did we? No need to study and figure these things out, God is the only answer you need huh? So do you also not theorize on gravity, or do you just say that God is holding us to the earth?



posted on Sep, 4 2014 @ 04:12 PM
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off-topic post removed to prevent thread-drift


 



posted on Sep, 4 2014 @ 04:17 PM
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originally posted by: Sabiduria
a reply to: Hellas

I take it you don't believe in evolution then?


No I wouldn't say I don't believe in evolution at all. I just don't believe that an animal just evolved from bacteria or micro-organisms.

It is something totally different though, that some animals develop for example more fur through the years, because of different climates etc.



posted on Sep, 4 2014 @ 04:37 PM
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originally posted by: helldiver

originally posted by: Hellas
a reply to: knoledgeispower




How did the earliest birds take wing? Did they fall from trees and learn to flap their forelimbs to avoid crashing?


Uhm, no! How did they get on the tree in the first place then?




Um yes. Wings are limbs, limbs with claws for climbing. Check out Hoatzin chicks.


I just checked some vids in that bird. Thanks for bringing them to my attention.

They do say though that those claws are for keeping the baby chicks balanced on the tree. The grown ones do fly.

Still star for you



posted on Sep, 4 2014 @ 06:33 PM
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a reply to: Hellas

Let's forget about that far back, let's focus on reptiles/dinosaurs evolving into birds. Do you think that is possible or is that evolutionary change bunk?





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