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12 December 2013 1:00 pm ,
Vol. 342 ,
Evolutionary biologists have long studied how the Mexican tetra, a drab fish that lives in rivers and creeks but has...
Victorian astronomers spent countless hours laboriously charting the positions of stars in the sky. Such sky mapping,...
In an ambitious project to study 1000 years of sickness and health, researchers are excavating the graveyard of the now...
Stefan Behnisch has won awards for designing science labs and other buildings that are smart, sustainable, and...
The iconic 125-year-old Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton near San Jose, California, is facing the threat of closure...
Recent results from the Curiosity Mars rover have helped scientists formulate a plan for the next phase of its mission...
A new, remarkably powerful drug that cripples the hepatitis C virus (HCV) came to market last week, but it sells for $...
In pretoothbrush populations, gumlines would often be marred by a thick, visible crust of calcium phosphate, food...
- 12 December 2013 1:00 pm , Vol. 342 , #6164
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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.