When you search on Google about flying dinosaurs, most of the results are Pterosaurs. This is wrong! Let’s get the fact straight first as this article will be discussing real flying dinosaurs.
Avialae: The Flying Dinosaurs
Avialae is a group of extinct flying dinosaurs that lived during the Mesozoic Era. They are believed to have been the first true birds and are the ancestors of modern birds. Avialae is a diverse group of flying dinosaurs, ranging from small, agile flyers to large, powerful predators. Some authors describe the Avialae as “all theropods closer to birds than to Deinonychus”
The mystery of Avialae is that despite their importance in the evolution of birds, very little is known about them. Fossils of flying dinosaurs are rare and fragmentary, making it difficult to determine their exact anatomy and behavior. Additionally, the fossil record of Avialae is incomplete, making it difficult to determine the exact evolutionary relationships between different species.
Despite the lack of information, scientists have been able to piece together some information about Avialae. It is believed that they were the first animals to develop powered flight, and that they were capable of sustained flight. They were likely the first flying dinosaurs to migrate, and may have been the first animals to use feathers for insulation.
Avialae And Pterosaurs
Avialae first appeared in the fossil record during the late Jurassic period, about 150 million years ago. They were the first group of dinosaurs to evolve the ability to fly, and they were the only dinosaurs to do so. Avialae were the dominant flying animals of the Mesozoic era, and they were the only dinosaurs to survive the mass extinction event at the end of the Cretaceous period.
Pterosaurs, on the other hand, are not dinosaurs. They are a group of flying reptiles that evolved from a group of archosaurs, which are the ancestors of modern crocodiles and birds. Pterosaurs first appeared in the fossil record during the late Triassic period, about 220 million years ago. They were the first animals to evolve the ability to fly, and they were the dominant flying animals of the Mesozoic era.
The main difference between Avialae and Pterosaurs is that Avialae are true dinosaurs, while Pterosaurs are not. Avialae evolved from theropods, while Pterosaurs evolved from archosaurs. Avialae had feathers, while Pterosaurs had skin membranes. Avialae were the only dinosaurs to survive the mass extinction event at the end of the Cretaceous period, while Pterosaurs went extinct at the same time.
What Are The Characteristics Of Avialae?
Avialae is a clade of dinosaurs that includes modern birds and those taxa that are more closely related to them. This clade is characterized by a number of unique features that distinguish it from other dinosaur groups. Avialae are characterized by their long, hollow bones, which are lighter and more aerodynamic than those of other theropods. They also have a unique set of feathers, which are used for flight.
Anatomy of Flying Dinosaurs
The most notable characteristic of Avialae is the presence of feathers. Feathers are a unique adaptation that allowed these dinosaurs to fly, and they are found in all modern birds. This adaptation is thought to have evolved from the scales of their ancestors, and it is believed that the first feathers were used for insulation and display rather than flight.
- Keeled Sternum
Another characteristic of Avialae is the presence of a keeled sternum. This is a large, flat bone located in the chest that is used to anchor the flight muscles. This adaptation allowed these dinosaurs to generate more power when flapping their wings, and it is thought to have been a key factor in the evolution of flight.
- “Bird-Hipped” Pelvis
Avialae also have a unique hip structure known as the “bird-hipped” pelvis. This structure is characterized by a wide, open hip socket and a short, broad pubis bone. This adaptation allowed these dinosaurs to move their legs in a more efficient manner, which was essential for flight.
- “Unidirectional” System
Finally, Avialae have a unique respiratory system known as the “unidirectional” system. This system is characterized by air sacs that are connected to the lungs, allowing air to flow in one direction. This adaptation allowed these dinosaurs to take in more oxygen, which was essential for powering their flight muscles.
Overall, Avialae, the flying dinosaurs are characterized by a number of unique features that distinguish them from other dinosaur groups. These features include feathers, a keeled sternum, a bird-hipped pelvis, and a unidirectional respiratory system. These adaptations allowed these dinosaurs to fly, and they are thought to have been key factors in the evolution of modern birds.
Avialae: List Of Some Flying Dinosaurs
Urvogel is the German name of the famous Archaeopteryx. The earliest known avialan is the Urvogel, which lived during the Late Jurrasic period. Avialan Archaeopteryx was a small, feathered dinosaur that was about the size of a modern-day crow. It had a long, bony tail, long arms with three fingers on each hand, and a long neck. Its wings were relatively short and its feathers were asymmetrical, meaning that the feathers on one side of the body were different from those on the other side.
The Rahonavis is another avialan that lived during the Late Cretaceous period. It was a small, feathered dinosaur that had wings and a long tail. Rahonavis is a small predator dinosaur measuring about 70 centimeters only.
The Xiaotingia zhengi is another avialan that lived from Middle Jurassic to the early Late Jurassic period. It was relatively small similar to the modern hen measuring about 60 centimertes long and weight of 1.8 pounds. Its feathers on the femur was quite long which indicates that it could take flight and flap its wings.
Jeholornis is a genus of avialans that lived during the Early Cretaceous period. It was relatively large compared to other similar types of dinosaurs, which is about 75 centimeters long length. It had a long tail, robust arms, long legs, and long beaks with few small teeth.
Jixiangornis was a small avialan, with a long forelimb indicating strong flight capability.
Yandangornis is one of the most complete avialan ever discovered. It was small in size with a long bony tail. It had characteristics similar to a flying dinosaur.
The mystery of flying dinosaurs is still unsolved, but scientists are continuing to uncover new clues. With each new discovery, we learn more about these fascinating creatures and their place in the history of life on Earth.
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