-- MarkCutkosky - 18 Jul 2003:

Birds (and dinosaurs?) using wings to help in climbing

See TiffanyCard 's PartridgeThrust pages for more up to date stuff

The theory is that wings may have evolved not through gliding but through assistance in running and climbing. Prof. Kenneth Dial at U. Montana has studied prairie chickens that use wings to help ascend smooth, steep sufaces by providing a combination of propulsion and normal force into the wall. Some dinosaurs may have evolved similar mechanisms.
PDF of article in Science: http://dart.stanford.edu:88/Get/File-4509/kennethdial.pdf

This article has also attracted some interest in the popular media...

Related articles (some disagree with Dial)

  • Ostrom, J. H. Bird flight: how did it begin? Am. Sci. 67 , 46-58 (1979).
  • Peters, D. S. & Gorgner, E. A comparative study on the claws of Archaeopteryx .L.A. Co. Mus., Sci. Ser. 36 , 29-37 (1992).
  • Chiappe, L. M. Climbing Aechaopteryx ? A Response to Yalden. Archaeopteryx 15 , 109-112 (1997).

-- MarkCutkosky - 29 May 2003

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