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16

Birds have a body part known as the nicitating membrane otherwise known as the "third eyelid". This part has become vestigial in humans, where it remains as the plica semilunaris. This image of a masked lapwing clearly shows its nicitating membrane in action, where it covers the eye in a horizontal motion. This is analogous to blinking in humans, and the ...


13

Insect flight muscle is capable of achieving the highest metabolic rate of all animal tissues, and this tissue may be considered an exquisite example of biochemical adaptation. Locusts, for example, may (almost instantaneously) increase their oxygen consumption up to 70-fold when starting to fly. In humans, excercise can increase O2 consumption a maximum ...


8

The smaller an animal is the easier it becomes for it to fly. That is because surface area increases to the second power of the diameter of the animal whereas mass increases to the third. So the larger a thing is the more mass per surface are it has. And since insects tend to be small they tend to be good at flying. As for any other reason, I don't think ...


8

Wootton (1992) reviewed the anatomy and biomechanics of insect wings. Basically the wing is a lightweight but strong scaffolding of veins, supporting a thin membrane. The veins are composed by a sandwich of cuticle with a potential space in between. The membrane is also a double-layer but without the space. In the venous space are is circulating hemolymph ...


7

I don't know of studies specifically of boat-tailed grackle flight, so I'll focus on elongated tails in general and come back to grackles at the end. Long tails in birds are obviously interesting from the standpoint of sexual selection. Going all the way back to Darwin, one hypothesis has been that females prefer males with long tails. There seems to be ...


6

Silverfish, also known as Lepisma (order Zygentoma), does not fly and does not descend from flying ancestors. It's close to Archeognatha, which don't fly either nor descend from flying ancestor.


6

There is a classification of birds called Soaring birds. Soaring Birds In definition, some land birds, such as vultures and certain hawks, sustain flight for long periods without flapping their wings. They take advantage of updrafts produced when the wind blows over hills and mountain ridges or make use of rising columns of warm air called ...


4

Cant be very sure about ravens but the maximum recorded flight duration is of Alpine Swift — 6 months. Pigeons can fly up to 1800km in a long flight. From this article: In the United States, the longest pigeon races involve flights of 1800 km and, because substantial financial rewards accrue to the owner of the fastest pigeon, there is severe ...


3

From this video demonstration in caltech, you can clearly see that Drosophila can fly forwards as well as backwards using high fps video image capture and it even does unexpected behaviours in times of perceived danger/threat.


3

Do you ask for examples of non-flying insects which ancestor were flying? In other words do you ask for examples of insect lineages that lost the ability to fly? The ability to fly arose with the clade called the Pterygota. All species from this monophyletic taxon come from ancestors that had once the ability to fly. You can just seek through the tree of ...


2

It takes more than wings to fly, just look at the poor penguins. The first problem is that simply weaving webs between a spider's legs would probably not generate enough lift to keep her airborne. Flying creatures have a specific body plan that allows them to fly, if you just add a couple of wings to a hippopotamus it won't be able to fly. On top of that, ...


1

Birds, like amphibians, have a third eyelid (the nicitating membrane) that helps them keeps their eyes moistened and allows them to better visualize at high speeds (or, for amphibians, underwater). The glands in birds' eyes allow them to secrete a fluid that is more resistant to evaporation than tears. The membrane also acts as a 'windshield wiper,' with ...


1

The honest answer to this and many other similar evolutionary questions is that we don't know the answer. We can sample information from many different points along an organism's developmental timeline using the fossil record, genetics, etc. and reconstruct various states of said organism's development. The overwhelming evidence is that evolution is the ...



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