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Why is Rudolp's nose red?

Evolution of Bird Flight

Dr. Biology learns how birds might have developed their ability to fly from ornithologist Ken Dial. The two talk about the evolution of bird flight and some of the other cool things birds can do - like are penguins really flying birds?

Content Info | Transcript


MP3 download | 14MB

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Topic Time
Intro 00:00
More animals fly than any other form of movement. 01:49
When did birds begin to fly? 03:21 
Past hypotheses of bird flight evolution. 04:43
Tree down hypothesis. [arboreal flight] 05:38
Ran and took to the air by beating their wing. [cursorial flight ] 06:03
What is your new hypothesis of bird flight 06:16
What have the baby birds been teaching you about bird flight evolution? 07:48
Traction and the function of wings. 09:25
 Airplanes, birds, gliding and flapping - how are they different? [basics of flight - thrust and lift] 11:03
Intermittent - bounding flight. 12:37
Undulating flyers 13:57
Steady flapping birds. 14:10
There is still lots to learn about flight for future scientists. 15:09
How do humming birds fly and hover? 16:01
Tools of art and science used in research. [Maya software, high-speed X-ray and video movies] 17:41
Use of wind tunnels. 20:39
What characteristics of flight do birds all share? [10,000 species of birds] 21:14
Do penguins fly? 22:37
When did you first know you wanted to be a scientist? 23:38
What would you be if you could not be a biologist? 24:40
What advice do you have for young scientists? 26:35
Sign-off -University of Montana Flight Lab- 28:02

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Evolution of Bird Flight

Audio editor: Charles Kazilek

Image of bird in flight

Learn more about bird flight.

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Image of bird in flight

Learn more about bird flight.

Share to Google Classroom

Be part of Ask A Biologist

by volunteering, or simply sending us feedback on the site. Scientists, teachers, writers, illustrators, and translators are all important to the program. If you are interested in helping with the website we have a Volunteer page to get the process started.