Animals

Travel through the evolution of the wing

X number of billion years ago: Bacteria first enter the atmosphere

Although bacteria cannot fly themselves and have never developed wings, you will find them en masse at altitudes of 8 to 15 kilometers. Because they are so small, winds and air currents lift them into the air. When the bacteria were developed some 3.5 billion years ago, they were the first living creatures on Earth, and therefore researchers also think that bacteria were the first to leave the earth's surface and spend time in the air.

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325 million years ago: Giant insects are taking off

The world's first flying animal, the giant dragonfly Meganeuropsis, had a wingspan of 70 centimeters. No fossils have yet been found that can explain how and why the first wings were created.

Lucas Lima

270 million years ago: Plants invent wings

At this time, the first trees developed wings for their seeds. The pine tree Manifera Talaris is the oldest known tree where the seeds turn during their fall, the movement that we now know of the maple seed. The rotation slows down the seeds, so their fall lasts longer and they are spread further by the wind.

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200 million years ago: Fish 'flies' before birds

The oldest fossil of a flying fish, Potanichthys xingyiensis, is considered a precursor of the flying fish of today. They do not fly on their own, but float above the water. There are species that can stay in the air for 400 meters, an excellent method for escaping predatory fish.

Shutterstock

150 million years ago: The first bird on Earth didn't fly too well

The archeopteryx is considered to be the first bird on earth, but for a long time it was not clear whether it could actually fly. New studies of fossil brains, however, show that the animal could certainly move through the air, even though it did not cover large distances.

Jane Burton / Getty Images

130 million years ago: Bees and aphids bloom

The first flowering plants emerge during this period. That is corn on the mill of pollinating insects such as bees, butterflies and aphids, which develop in a symbiotic relationship with the plants.

Phil Savoie / NaturePL

125 million years ago: Four wings were an evolutionary miss

The microraptor lived for approximately 5 million years. Regardless of other flying dinosaurs, this dinosaur developed wings on both front and hind legs, so the animal had four. The extra set of wings, however, did not catch on with evolution, because the microraptor has no current descendants.

Sergey Krasovskiy / Getty Images

70 million years ago: Flying giraffe had 10 meters wingspan

The Quetzalcoatlus northropi was as long as a giraffe, weighed around 250 kilos and had a wingspan of 10.4 meters. This dinosaur was the largest animal that we know flew. The predator hunted for smaller dinosaurs.

AMNH

52 million years ago: Bat flew during the day

The world's first bat, Onychonycteris finneryi, 12 centimeters long, had claws on all toes - unlike today's bats, which have only 1 or 2 claws per leg. He was able to fly, but he orientated himself without an echolocation system, so researchers think he was active during the day.

Nobu Tamura

Video: The Origin of Flight--What Use is Half a Wing? HHMI BioInteractive Video (April 2020).

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