Many paleontologists think that pterodactyls, the well-known winged dinosaurs that lived 150 million years ago, were able to fly only when their bodies reached an adequate level of growth, just like most birds and bats do. However, a new study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences shows that these extinct reptiles could fly from birth.
This is not a minor feature considering that no other known vertebrate has been or is capable of much. Furthermore, this very discovery clearly changes our understanding of the life of these animals as a whole. The theory that pterodactyls were able to fly only after reaching a certain body size was corroborated by some fossil findings in China that showed underdeveloped wings.
The paleobiologist of the University of Leicester, David Unwin, refutes this hypothesis after analyzing, together with Charles Deeming, a zoologist at the University of Lincoln, precisely these fossils. By comparing this analysis with data relating to prenatal growth, ie that which occurs within the new, of birds and crocodiles, the researchers found that those fossils are related to pterodactyls that are still an early stage of development, very far from the moment of hatching.
Another thing that corroborates the thesis of Unwin and Deeming would be in the fact, according to the researchers, that the pterodactyls notoriously were not facilitated by any parental care given that they had to begin to feed themselves and take care of themselves until the hatching. This is why flying practically just after coming out of the eggs was an almost essential characteristic to escape predators, in particular the other carnivorous dinosaurs.
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