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Birds take off by jumping, not flying - new paper
A new paper is just out: I've been waiting for this one for a while, since
I've seen various version of Kathleen Earls' research at various
Earls, K. D. Kinematics and mechanics of ground take-off in the starling
_Sturnis vulgaris_ and the quail _Coturnix coturnix_. The Journal of
Experimental Biology 203, 725-739 (2000).
It turns out in both these birds (one a small bird, the other a larger
ground bird with small wings) about 80-90% of the initial velocity is
generated by the hindlimb. Despite previous assumptions to the contrary, it
isn't the wings that are the primary means by which birds get into the air:
in other words, birds aren't airplanes.
Earls proposes a jumping model of take-off as a more logical starting point
for the evolution of powered bird flight compared to previous suggestions
(running take-offs, etc.).
And as a note for those interested: word from the publishers at Gaia is that
the theropod volume (which will be out soon!) will be just over 400 pp long
and mass about 1.4 kg! Is it a journal, or is a doorstop: you be the
Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Department of Geology Director, Earth, Life & Time Program
University of Maryland College Park Scholars
College Park, MD 20742
Phone: 301-405-4084 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fax (Geol): 301-314-9661 Fax (CPS-ELT): 301-314-7843