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Wing bone geometry reveals active flight in Archaeopteryx
European Synchrotron Radiat Facil, 71 Ave Martyrs,CS-40220, F-38043 Grenoble, France.;Palacky Univ, Dept Zool, 17 Listopadu 50, Olomouc 77146, Czech Republic.;Palacky Univ, Lab Ornithol, 17 Listopadu 50, Olomouc 77146, Czech Republic..
Sorbonne Univ, CNRS INSU, Inst Sci Terre Paris, ISTeP UMR 7193, F-75005 Paris, France..
Univ Rennes 1, Univ Caen Normandie, CNRS, Lab Ethol Anim & Humaine, 263 Ave Gen Leclerc, F-35042 Rennes, France..
Burgermeister Muller Museum, Bahnhofstr 8, D-91807 Solnhofen, Germany.;Bayerische Staatssammlung Palaontol & Geol, Richard Wagner Str 10, D-80333 Munich, Germany..
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2018 (English)In: Nature Communications, ISSN 2041-1723, E-ISSN 2041-1723, Vol. 9, article id 923Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Archaeopteryx is an iconic fossil taxon with feathered wings from the Late Jurassic of Germany that occupies a crucial position for understanding the early evolution of avian flight. After over 150 years of study, its mosaic anatomy unifying characters of both non-flying dinosaurs and flying birds has remained challenging to interpret in a locomotory context. Here, we compare new data from three Archaeopteryx specimens obtained through phase-contrast synchrotron microtomography to a representative sample of archosaurs employing a diverse array of locomotory strategies. Our analyses reveal that the architecture of Archaeopteryx's wing bones consistently exhibits a combination of cross-sectional geometric properties uniquely shared with volant birds, particularly those occasionally utilising short-distance flapping. We therefore interpret that Archaeopteryx actively employed wing flapping to take to the air through a more anterodorsally posteroventrally oriented flight stroke than used by modern birds. This unexpected outcome implies that avian powered flight must have originated before the latest Jurassic.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 9, article id 923
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Evolutionary Biology
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URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-350610DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-03296-8ISI: 000427247600001PubMedID: 29535376OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-350610DiVA, id: diva2:1209492
Available from: 2018-05-23 Created: 2018-05-23 Last updated: 2018-05-23Bibliographically approved

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Sanchez, Sophie

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