Aerodynamics of Soft Flapping Wings of Caudipteryx

  • Yaser Saffar Talori
  • Jing-Shan ZhaoEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11742)


This study explores the aerodynamic capacity of feathered forelimbs of Caudipteryx, the most basal non-volant maniraptoran dinosaur, with particular focus on flapping during terrestrial locomotion on a flat, horizontal substrate. In order to seek this subject, Caudipteryx and its wings have been modeled theoretically based on measuring the fossil data of Caudipteryx (IVPP V12344 and IVPP V12430). We divided the wings into various elements to enhance the analysis accuracy, and lift and thrust forces were estimated using a mathematical model and metabolic energy required to flap the forelimbs was estimated. Here we show that flapping feathered wings of flightless Caudipteryx would generate small amounts of aerodynamic forces based on our kinematic assumptions. Although the function of pennaceous feathers in oviraptorosaurs is uncertain and the feathers of dinosaur were believed not to originate for flight, theoretical analyses indicate that the feathered wings of Caudipteryx, could have produced small aerodynamic forces in rapid terrestrial locomotion. The winged Oviraptorosaurs utilized their feathered wings to produce aerodynamic forces in cursorial activities. Modeling of flapping while running showed similar limited aerodynamic force production.


Soft flapping wings Aerodynamics Flight evolution Caudipteryx 



The authors appreciate Prof. Dr. Corwin Sullivan from the Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, Canada, Prof. Dr. Zhong-He Zhou and Prof. Dr. Min Wang from the Key Laboratory of Vertebrate Evolution and Human Origins, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100044, P. R. China for their kind suggestions.

Author Contributions

Y.S.T. deduced formulas and prepared programs, simulations, tables and figures and wrote the first draft of the manuscript; J.-S.Z. supervised the project and provided the major suggestions in revision; All authors discussed the results and commented on the manuscript and contributed ideas to manuscript development and data analysis.


This project was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China under grant 51575291, the National Major Science and Technology Project of China under grant 2015ZX04002101, State Key Laboratory of Tribology, Tsinghua University, and the 221 program of Tsinghua University.

Competing Interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mechanical EngineeringTsinghua UniversityBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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