Arboreal Hypothesis

Also known as the "from the trees down" hypothesis. Most versions of the arboreal hypothesis state that the ancestors of birds were very small dinosaurs that lived in trees, springing from branch to branch. This small dinosaur already had feathers, which were co-opted by evolution to produce longer, stiffer forms that were useful in aerodynamics, eventually producing wings. Wings would have then evolved and become increasingly refined as devices to give the leaper more control, to parachute, to glide, and to fly in stepwise fashion. The arboreal hypothesis also notes that, for arboreal animals, aerodynamics are far more energy efficient, since such animals simply fall in order to achieve minimum gliding speeds.

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