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Archaeopteryx braincase

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Archaeopteryx is widely considered to be the earliest known flying bird, although it may represent one of many early flying experiments rather than being the direct ancestor of modern birds.

But how sophisticated was its flying? The brains of modern birds are adapted for flight, and this reconstruction of Archaeopteryx's braincase was done in 2004 to find out how similar it was to our familiar modern birds.

Measuring the 3D reconstruction has shown that that Archaeopteryx had enlarged brain regions for sight and control of movement, similar to modern-day birds. Its brain to body size-ratio resembled that of today's feathered fliers. These qualities are not found in animals that do not take to the skies.

It's very likely that Archaeopteryx had a keen sense of sight, and the movement and balance control needed for controlled flight, and not just gliding. Follow the story to see the evidence...

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