Ancient ‘dragons’ were the first gliding reptiles on Earth

While most ancient reptiles crawled, sank, and hopped through their prehistoric habitats, a stealthy creature chose an aerial technique: gliding.

Small, “dragon-like” Coelurosauravus elivensis (see-luh-roh-SAW’-rah-vus eh-lih-VEN’-sis) used a pair of patagials – thin membranes that extended from its trunk to its front limbs, forming a wing-like structure to move from treetop to treetop to travel, according to a new study published online Friday (Sept. 9) in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology (opens in new tab).