Early feathered dinosaur may have evolved to lose flight, study suggests

11/12/2013 | Nature (free content)

Archaeopteryx, one of the earliest known feathered dinosaurs, is ruffling feathers in the scientific community after a University of Southern California biologist suggested that the ancient creature was evolving to lose its ability to fly rather than the other way around. Michael Habib compared limb ratios and feather symmetry in Archaeopteryx to modern birds and found similarities to those of flightless birds like rails and grebes, suggesting Archaeopteryx was becoming secondarily flightless. That concept sparked debate among attendees of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology's annual meeting.

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