Was this how dinosaurs began flying?

If a Pacific parrotlet needs to get to a nearby branch, it uses its legs to jump. If a target falls just outside of its jump range, however, it can add a “proto-wingbeat,” a small flapping motion that allows it to travel farther without using as much energy as full flight. National Science Foundation-funded researchers Diana D. Chin and David Lentink, of Stanford University, found that with a single proto-wingbeat, a bird-like dinosaur like Archaeopteryx or Microraptor could jump 20 percent farther than if it had just used its legs. The researchers also studied how parrotlets select takeoff angles that conserve their energy. That insight could help researchers design robots that can conserve energy when traversing crowded environments. Learn more about the research in this NSF Press Release.

Provided by the National Science Foundation

Runtime: 0.44

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