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21

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 ...


20

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 ...


10

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 ...


10

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 ...


9

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.


8

Can't be very sure about ravens but the maximum recorded flight duration is of Common Swift — 10 months. Alpine swifts also remain airborne for up to 6 months. Pigeons can fly up to 1800km in a long flight. From this article (pubmed): In the United States, the longest pigeon races involve flights of 1800 km and, because substantial financial rewards ...


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 ...


7

The largest flying bird ever was probably Argentavis, which weighed about 70 kg, far smaller than a horse but still pretty impressive: A duck scaled even to 70 kg wouldn't be able to fly since it wouldn't have the same relative wingspan. A 1 kg duck has a wingspan less than 100 cm; volume (and weight) increase as the cube of dimensions, so a 70 kg duck ...


7

A 2008 study on fruit flies found that when faced with an immediate threat, flies would tend to launch themselves into the air in the opposite direction to the threat. So when confronted by a threat from directly ahead, the flies would jump backwards. Interestingly, "in response to stimuli approaching from the side, however, flies jumped at an angle that ...


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 "...


5

Note nowhere in the article does it mention the rear wings flapping. The rear wings do not provide lift, they are acting as control surfaces to improve stability and maneuverability. (think of the tail of a plane).earlier/proto flies have far more demand for control surfaces than developed/derived fliers due to lacking more precise control of flight surfaces....


5

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. For nonflying species with no flying ...


4

There is a good attempt at a simulation of 4 winged flight of Microraptor on BBC's Planet Dinosaur. There's another Planet Dinosaur video about their venomous teeth and hunting tactics. And a Microraptor locomotion video on Attenborough's Conquest of the Skies (Sky 3D).


4

One of the physical limits to biological flight is muscle physiology. Muscle force output is proportional to muscle physiological cross sectional area (PCSA) multiplied by its specific tension (Gans, 1982): $$F = \text{PCSA} \times \text{Specific Tension}$$ PCSA is basically just the cross-sectional area of a muscle adjusted for its architecture. Pennate ...


4

Here is a discussion of homology and analogy that clearly presents bat and bird wings as an example of analogous organs: http://amrita.olabs.edu.in/?sub=79&brch=16&sim=132&cnt=1 You are right however that bat, bird and pterosaur wings are homologous in a sense, as they have similar underlying structure and a common evolutionary origin - the ...


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, ...


2

As AMR said, fish are tied to the water by their respiratory systems. Bats and gliding mammals and herptiles don't have that limitation. Fish have an advantage over mammals and herptiles in that they're generally streamlined. On the other hand, they're adapted to "flying" in a denser environment and might therefore be a little heavy for flight. Also, I ...


2

The marmalade hoverfly (Episyrphus balteatus) flies to Southern Europe and back every year. It's difficult to track and find them compared to birds and butterflies, here is a study witch citations: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/j.1570-7458.2007.00568.x?purchase_referrer=scholar.google.fr&tracking_action=preview_click&r3_referer=...


2

Assuming that the heaviest pterosaurs (Quetzalcoatlus, Hategopteryx) probably weighed around 200 kilograms... No. This extra load would have required a huge amount of extra muscles and the forces acting on the wing bones (which are the distal phalanges of the 4th finger) would be too high. The biggest bird was Teratornis incredibilis with an estimated ...


2

Yes. A duck can be observed taking off near-vertically from the water's surface in this video. Watch the first duck to take off (from about 0:08). Immediately after take-off, the duck has a very low horizontal speed, and works to gain speed by a combination of flapping and vertically beating its tail. The full process is as follows: Beat 1: The duck gives a ...


1

Birds of flight were the original inspiration for the design of a machine that could fly and carry a person aloft, hence it's not surprising that the aerodynamics of avian flight and aircraft have much in common. Specifically, they both consume mass as the source of energy to maintain flight; jet fuel or gasoline in the case of airplanes, and stored body fat ...


1

Several models have been proposed, challenged, and revised over the past two decades: Origin of Flight: Could ‘four-winged’ dinosaurs fly?, Nature (2005) A previously published reconstruction shows that the hindwing of Microraptor supported by a laterally extended leg would have formed a second pair of wings in tetrapteryx fashion. However, this wing ...


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 ...


1

The term biofuel refers both to the source of the fuel, as well as (currently, at least) the compounds contained in it. If the production quality is strictly controlled, eventually there should be no detectable difference between a fuel mixture derived directly from biological sources, and one derived from petroleum products (which, technically speaking, are ...


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 ...


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