125-Million-Year-Old Bird Wing: Helps To Understand the Evolution Theory of Flight

125-Million-Year-Old Bird Wing: Helps To Understand the Evolution Theory of Flight


A wing which is believed to be 125 million year old from Central Spain is helping to solve the riddle of the evolution theory of flight. Some of the most ancient birds were able to carry out aerodynamic feats much akin to present day birds. PhD student Guillermo Navalon with the University of Bristol and his team of Spanish paleontologists and Dr. Luis M. Chiappe Director of the Natural History Museum, Los Angeles County explained how this well preserved 125 million year old bird wing enabled scientists to determine the evolution of flight.

The team of researchers revealed in a news release that the wing was relatively well preserved and the bones of the forelimb and the soft tissues intact. The fibers from the fossilized wings matched the intricate network of ligaments, muscles and tendons which are characteristic in present day birds. The intricate network of ligaments and muscles allow the birds to fly efficiently, the presence of these patterns in the fossilized wing hints that ancient birds were capable of performing aerodynamic feasts much akin to present day birds.

The wing is of a 125 million year old dinosaur named Changyuraptor yangi and was discovered in the Liaoning Province of northeastern China. The dinosaur fossil with exceptionally long feathers provides new facts about the dinosaur flight. The research team believes that the long feathered tail was instrumental for decreasing the descent speed and ensured safe landing.

Dr Luis Chiappe said that the anatomical similarity between the fibers found in the fossilized wings and the modern day birds hints that the earliest birds were able to perform aerodynamic feats like the present day birds.
Dr. Jesús Marugán Lobón, co-author of the study added that fossil is just like a time capsule allowing scientists to have a peep into the past. This fossilized wing gave the scientists a look into the most intricate aspects of the evolution of flight.