Because the fossil was in excellent condition, paleontologist Daniel Ksepka had enough data to re-create the bird’s flight style through computer modeling.
The results, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggest P. sandersi was an efficient glider that probably used cresting waves for an extra boost of energy at takeoff. The models also indicate that the bird was capable of short periods of powered flight (which is also called flapping flight because it requires significantly more energy from the bird than soaring or gliding).
“P. sandersi’s flight style was similar to that of the albatross,” says Ksepka, curator of science at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, Conn., but “these magnificently strange things are actually related to chickens.”
Although, he adds, “I can say they almost certainly did not taste like chicken.” Sorry, wings fans.