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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: Can Ostriches Tell Us How Dinosaurs Moved?
1 July 2010 3:44 pm
If you think ostriches' wings are purely ornamental, you've got your head in the sand. New research suggests that the giant birds use their wings as "air rudders" to rapidly change directions while running and to stop quickly. Nina Schaller, a biologist at the University of Antwerp in Belgium and Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt, Germany, raised ostriches from birth and watched how they used their wings as they wheeled about. Based on her observations, she told fellow biologists today at the Society for Experimental Biology annual meeting in Prague, ostriches use their wings to run more nimbly and efficiently. The same might be true for feathery dinosaurs, like Gigantoraptor and Avimimus. Scientists have usually assumed these dinos used their forelimbs to manipulate objects, but they may have also used them to balance their bodies and zigzag while running.