On the wing


DRAGONFLIES evolved a cunning flying technique not once, but twice. Modern dragonflies twist their wings through large angles, allowing them to hover, fly backwards and make sharp turns to catch agile prey in the air. This agility comes from mechanisms that allow parts of their wings to fold in response to air flow, says Robin Wootton of the University of Exeter. Modern dragonflies evolved this twisting mechanism about 180 million years ago. But Wootton and his colleagues have shown that the wing of a 320-million-year-old fossil of a dragonfly from Argentina had a similar twisting action (Science, vol 282,
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