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November 24 2012

Birdlike dinos had tough time flying


Some of the first birdlike creatures to emerge during the age of the dinosaurs probably couldn't get their heavy wings to take them off the ground, and they likely opted for gliding over flying, new research shows.

Modern flying birds have a single primary layer of easily separated long feathers covered with short ones a design that helps them overcome drag when taking flight. A new analysis of the fossils of two of their ancestors shows that the arrangement of feathers for primitive birds was quite different.

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