Vertebrate Flight Exhibit

Pteranodon ingens
Pteranodon ingens "soars" above T. rex and visitors to
the Valley Life Sciences Building at UC Berkeley.

A feeling of jealousy is common, and understandable, when we catch a flicker of movement out of the corner of our eyes, and look to see a bird flitting merrily through the air, as if it were so simple and mundane to fly. Humankind has only achieved flight this century; other vertebrates have been perfecting the ability of flight for millions of years, and the insects were masters of the air long before that. So petty and crude we must seem to them, bound to the Earth by shackles of our own weight, only able to make crude imitations of their flight, and then only with the aid of bulky, noisy machinery. It's a humbling thought that we may have mastery over the land, but the majority of the Earth is a realm where no human can tread...

Welcome to the UCMP's exhibit on Vertebrate Flight, one of our "stand-alone" exhibits; independent of the rest of the on-line museum. We are proud to bring you this exhibit on flight as part of our initiative to further public understanding of science.

If you are wondering how we recommend traveling through these exhibits, follow the sequence of links provided. Enter now, and find the answers to questions humans have contemplated for millenia. Keep your feet on the ground, though!

Boy in awe at sight of Pteranodon

Follow the suggested "route" through the site...
Learn the Secrets of Flight

...or feel free to negotiate your own way:

Introduction to Flight

The Physics of Flight

Gliders and Parachuters

The Evolution of Flight

The Origins of Flight

The Three Solutions to Flight

Return to the Vertebrates

Here is another interesting website dealing with vertebrate flight, titled Flying on Hind Legs, courtesy of Alexei Sharov.

Explore "The Origins of Flight in Birds" in this UCMP educational module.