Volant mammals

Volant mammals, fossils of gliding animals from the dinosaur period have been discovered in China.

  • Instantly fossilized to preserve the flying membrane
  • Not uniformitarianism evolution but rapid changes
  • Life designed using appropriate building blocks? Structural components can re appear if needed
  • Issues from age of fossil dating resolved if date of gliding mammaliaform Maiopatagium furculiferum is wrong or standard chronology is in doubt

gliding mammaliaform Maiopatagium furculiferum Both fossils show the exquisitely fossilized, wing-like skin membranes between their front and back limbs.

"With every new mammal fossil from the Age of Dinosaurs, we continue to be surprised by how diverse mammalian forerunners were in both feeding and locomotor adaptations. The groundwork for mammals' successful diversification today appears to have been laid long ago," he said.

... This distinct diet and lifestyle evolved again some 100 million years later among modern mammals, in examples of convergent evolution and ecology.

"It's amazing that the aerial adaptions occurred so early in the history of mammals," said study co-author David Grossnickle, a graduate student at the University of Chicago. "Not only did these fossils show exquisite fossilization of gliding membranes, their limb, hand and foot proportion also suggests a new gliding locomotion and behavior."
First winged mammals from the Jurassic period discovered | Science Daily

The new volant taxa are phylogenetically nested with arboreal eleutherodonts. Together, they show an evolutionary experimentation similar to the iterative evolutions of gliders within arboreal groups of marsupial and placental mammals. However, gliding eleutherodonts possess rigid interclavicle–clavicle structures, convergent to the avian furculum, and they retain shoulder girdle plesiomorphies of mammaliaforms and monotremes. Forelimb mobility required by gliding occurs at the acromion–clavicle and glenohumeral joints, is different from and convergent to the shoulder mobility at the pivotal clavicle–sternal joint in marsupial and placental gliders.
New gliding mammaliaforms from the Jurassic