Ancient ‘dragons’ were Earth’s first gliding reptiles

While most ancient reptiles crawled, scuttled and hopped through their prehistoric habitats, one stealthy creature opted for an airborne technique: gliding.

Tiny, “dragonlike” Coelurosauravus elivensis (see-luh-roh-SAW’-rah-vus eh-lih-VEN’-sis) used a pair of patagials — thin membranes that extended from its torso to its front limbs, forming a winglike structure to travel from treetop to treetop , according to a new study published online Friday (Sept. 9) in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology (opens in new tab).

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