|English Partridge In Flight by Archibald Thorburn, 1898|
A simplistic story about bird flight influenced a generation of evolution students, but it was wrong.Be a-WAIR that you can finish reading this article in its entirety by clicking on "Bird Flight Story Falsified".
Ken Dial’s “partridge family” story on the evolution of bird flight became one of our icons of just-so storytelling when it first appeared in December 2003. His theory he called “WAIR” (wing assisted incline running) began when he watched partridge chicks hold out their arms when running uphill. Director of the Flight Laboratory at the University of Montana, Dial had visions of dinosaurs taking to the skies by holding out their wingless arms. Even though WAIR was little more than a quasi-Lamarckian heuristic conjecture, it got respectable coverage over the years in the science media mainly because there wasn’t a better theory around. Both the arboreal (tree down) and cursorial (ground up) theories had fallen out of favor by 2003. Here was a new idea to fill the void, they thought; it was better than nothing.
Flight, however, requires much more than running uphill with arms outstretched. Otherwise, humans might learn the trick without a wingsuit. A new study by Alexander Dececchi (Queen’s University) puts evolutionists back at square one by eliminating WAIR and all other contenders for good just-so stories to explain how dinosaurs learned to fly. Science Daily says that Dececchi has determined that “none of the previously predicted methods would have allowed pre-avian dinosaurs to take flight.” That includes WAIR.