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[dinosaur] Protopteryx (Early Cretaceous enantiornithine bird) flight performance

Ben Creisler

A new paper:

Luis M. Chiappe, ÂLiu Di, ÂFrancisco J. Serrano, ÂZhang Yuguang & Qingjin Meng (2019)
Anatomy and Flight Performance of the Early Enantiornithine Bird Protopteryx fengningensis: Information from New Specimens of the Early Cretaceous Huajiying Formation of China.
The Anatomical Record (advance online publication)
doi: Âhttps://doi.org/10.1002/ar.24322

The Early Cretaceous (~131âMillion Years Ago) Protopteryx fengningensis is one of the oldest and most primitive enantiornithine birds; however, knowledge of its anatomy has largely been limited to the succinct description of two specimens (holotype and paratype). This study describes two new specimens of P. fengningensis preserving most of the skeleton and plumage, and it therefore adds significantly to understanding the morphology of this important species and the character evolution of enantiornithine birds. The wellâpreserved plumage of these specimens also affords a quantitative assessment of the flight performance of P. fengningensis. Our aerodynamic considerations indicate that this early enantiornithine was capable of intermittent flight (bounding or flapâgliding), thus marking the earliest occurrence of such energyâsaving aerial strategy.Â