GIF: Talori et al./Gizmodo[19659003Accordingtotheuseofamathematicalapproachtomodal-effectivemasstheorytheresearcherswereabletopredictthemechanicaleffectsoftherunondifferentpartsof 006] Caudipteryx predict bodywork. Numerical models suggested passive flapping motion at speeds between 8.2 and 19 feet per second (2.5 to 5.8 m / s). The researchers have not only relied on numbers, but built a life-size caudipteryx robot that can run at different speeds. They also adapted a young ostrich – a real live dinosaur – with a series of artificial protoplasts. In both cases, ongoing movements triggered a passive flapping motion, confirming the modal effective mass calculations.
The researchers used mathematical and real models to detect movement, albeit superficially, resembling the flapping of bird wings.
"Our work shows that the movement of the flapping feather wings was made passive and natural when the dinosaur was walking on the ground," Zhao said in a press release. "Although this flapping motion did not blow up the dinosaur at the time, the movement of the flapping wings may have developed earlier than the glide."
It is important that the aerodynamic forces generated by this flapping motion are not known and is unlikely to be comparable to the forces actually required for flapping flight.
Dennis Voeten, a paleontologist at Palacký University in the Czech Republic, who was not involved in the study, said the authors presented an "elegant demonstration" of the passive flapping motion, but in terms of how this affected the actual development After flying dinosaurs, Voeten believes that "more research is needed."
One of the main concerns of Voetans is that the robot did not take into account the actual shoulder dynamics and musculature of Caudipteryx . Instead, researchers replaced these critically important anatomical structures with elastic springs. This made it "impossible to imagine a skeletal behavior that would have allowed such movements during life," Voeten wrote in an email to Gizmodo. Voeten is "convinced" that the forces exercised by running can affect the movement of the free limbs, but "this effect of explaining the origins of dinosaur flight remains hypothetical," he said.
Voetenes also had minor problems with the use of Caudipteryx in the study.
"Although Caudipteryx is morphologically one of the most primitive members of the dinosaur group, which is characterized by bird-like feathers, it lived in a time when the dinosaur flight was already established," he said. "The dinosaur flight may have evolved more than once, but it is highly unlikely that Caudipteryx itself was an ancestor of a flying dinosaur."
Paleontologist Michael Pittman of the University of Hong Kong said the new newspaper had presented an "interesting hypothesis" worth exploring.
"Our work with laser stimulated fluorescence (LSF) has yielded otherwise invisible body contour data from oviraptorosaurs, including caudipteryx which will help refine the models used in this study as well as other functional models of theropods Dinosaurs, "wrote Pittman, who was not involved in the new study, in an email to Gizmodo. "These LSF data would be particularly useful for future analysis of the buoyancy and impact of the caudipteryx spring-loaded wings during the proposed passive stroke."
And indeed, this is just the next focus of the Tsinghua University team's aerodynamic forces want to better understand the passive beating. But until more is known, the new study – as interesting as its methods and conclusions are – contributes little to understanding the origins of bird flight.