New Insight into Dinosaur Flight

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


A team from the University of Southampton has provided for a new explanation for the flight techniques of one of the first dinosaurs to ever fly. The research is based upon studying the various fossils and testing the model of the dinosaur in a wind tunnel.

Early birds developed only after dinosaurs which had feathered limbs, explain the scientists. But the debate about how these dinosaurs really fly has been hopefully settled by the team from Southampton. The team tested an anatomically accurate model of the Microraptor, a cretaceous period five-winged dinosaur in a wind tunnel, as it is a crucial link between the evolution of flight and gliding. The full-scale simulations of the flight showed that the dinosaur had the most stable gliding while it generated large lifts due to its five wings.

The scientists stated that the five wings gave the dinosaurs a longer gliding distance and less height loss, which was the priority for the tree-dwelling dinosaur. As a result, the dinosaur didn’t require a modern wing structure that allowed greater aerodynamics and sustained flight. They also busted the myth that the position of its legs and tail was essential in its flight as the positioning hardly affects the flight of the reptile, shedding more light over our understanding of flight evolution and aerodynamic performance.

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