STL Science Center

STL Science Center

18 January 2016

Anchiornis Takes Flight

The majority of sources and literature concerning Anchiornis mention that the animal was a dinosaur. Very few, and there are still some holdouts in popular outlets, not as much in the literature, still cling to the viewpoint that Anchiornis is a very early form of bird. Regardless, there are a number of clips online showing the dinosaur flying. We know that powered flight was not part of whatever flight regimen the animal was capable of however. It is different to watch someone's interpretation of a powered flight, but the shape of the wings and the more symmetrical flight feathers indicate that gliding or controlled descent was much more likely than powered flight if any mode of flight was available to the dinosaur. The clips of flying Anchiornis still contain some good facts, of course, but their locomotive facts about this dinosaur are entirely false, unfortunately. The videos therefore must be taken with many grains of salt. Proper portrayals of the dinosaur in flight, or free-fall rather, do exist. The Rise of Animals, narrated by David Attenborough and a National Geographic special on dinosaurs and including Anchiornis both show the dinosaur gliding down from trees. However, these clips are not online in abundance and quality versions are difficult to come by. One of the best quality versions of the national Geographic clips is absolutely ruined by having the My Little Pony theme blared over it. I will attach a link to it, but I genuinely refuse to put it directly onto this page.

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