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Looks difficult for a two-limbed creature to evolve the powered flight, specially the part of the blastoff, considering that pterosaurs had a quadrupedal blastoff which is good, but birds a bipedal blastoff which is more problematic or have less efficacy, so to have less limbs could be problematic

Also I just can think in not many real life species with just two limbs, one of them is the mole lizard, with just to strong short arms and long serpentine body.

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I have to say, I know about flying snakes but there is a problem with the anatomy respect to expand the ribs to increase the gliding surface and have strong muscle attachments for powered flight, like a keel, the things look mutually excluyent. And that having long bodys increase the flight drag resistnace making to require more energy to fly

So, how a creature like this could evolve powered flight and what anatomical adaptations it need?

Remembering the parts of how would be the takeoff and stay in the air. And is necersary to use the two present limbs.

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Okay, so... there's no real life animal to draw inspiration from so here's a Mutalisk from Starcraft.

enter image description here

As you can see the beating wings lift up the upper body while the lower body hangs for balance (and to fire acid projectiles). To move it beats its wings but also shifts its tail to orient itself in the right direction, since there's no tail like in birds or bats. Now we've never seen a Mutalisk rest on the ground so it's not clear how they would take off. We can assume the creature lifts its body like a cobra then starts beating its wings and either tucks its tail or kicks the ground with it to take off. The tail jumping option seems more logical to me. There's actually a species of worm that does this, see the link here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-b73G96UIQ

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    $\begingroup$ Spring-tailed Mutalisks. +1 $\endgroup$
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Aug 19, 2021 at 13:39
  • $\begingroup$ I really like the use of the "spring tail" but I think have the problem that while the weight of an animal increase its proportional force decrease, if the worm would scaled maybe the height jump would be notoriously reduced? $\endgroup$
    – Drakio-X
    Aug 19, 2021 at 16:56
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    $\begingroup$ @Drakio-X Yes, but as long the flapping wings don't hit the ground it's high enough. $\endgroup$ Aug 19, 2021 at 18:17
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Flaired ribs

Flying snakes push out their ribs so they can glide, undulating and swimming through the air.

enter image description here

Evolution could expand this over time, with broader ribs and more powerful muscular motions so that they could fly more easily. They would spring up, and fly from a stationary position.

Lighter bones.

Birds have hollow bones, making them light weight enough to fly. Flying snakes or such could evolve the same, letting them fly.

The two limbs have small wings to help guide them and change direction.

Their body would have most of the power to control their movement, but they could have small wings on their arms to help them move from side to side and change directions.

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  • $\begingroup$ But does it involve having two limbs? solved the problem to stay in the air? And isn't having flexible ribs something that could be mutually exclusive with strong muscle anchors stronger to be able to fly? $\endgroup$
    – Drakio-X
    Aug 19, 2021 at 13:29
  • $\begingroup$ The two limbs are good for grabbing onto trees and prey after they fly. In your original question you didn't require that the two limbs be used for flight. A long creature has the entire length of its body to help it fly, so they can have a higher muscle to body ratio than a bird who just has wings to fly. The snakes can already use their muscles to move through the air, they just need to be a bit broader and lighter to fly fully. $\endgroup$
    – Nepene Nep
    Aug 19, 2021 at 14:57
  • $\begingroup$ I was almost sure long bodys increase the flight drag resistance requiring more energy to flight. And I'm sorry about this but I was thinking of asking a question specifically for creatures limbless creatures. $\endgroup$
    – Drakio-X
    Aug 19, 2021 at 16:50
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    $\begingroup$ Greater length does increase drag resistance, but the snake has muscles along it's length which lets it overcome that. Of course, being too large does make it hard to fly, as is true of birds as well. $\endgroup$
    – Nepene Nep
    Aug 19, 2021 at 17:50
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It takes off with organic liquid-fuel rocket-assisted takeoff and then glides.

It's long, flat, and small (think a very long pancake-shaped organism), meaning that it has a great surface area relative to its volume.

Therefore, it blasts itself into the air with an organic rocket and then glides. If it needs to go higher or faster, or fly longer, it triggers the rocket again.

Maybe the mechanism was originally a defensive spray like that of the bombardier beetle, and then individuals with a more explosive mixture of chemicals did better, and so it eventually evolved into a refuelable organic rocket engine.

Stability will be a problem, but it can just have multiple sets of such organs down the length of its body that fire off simultaneously so that the thrust is equally distributed.

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  • $\begingroup$ How that could evolve in an amphisbaenia or similar? an what would happen with the arms? $\endgroup$
    – Drakio-X
    Aug 19, 2021 at 19:10
  • $\begingroup$ The arms are irrelevant to the rocket propulsion being developed. I'm not sure how an amphisbaenia could evolve this, but it doesn't need to start out so complex - say, a noxious spray that it directs at things that it feels are threats. $\endgroup$
    – KEY_ABRADE
    Aug 19, 2021 at 19:21
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There are already "flying snakes" today, they "jump" from trees and float to nearby trees. If you start of with this as your base, the vestigial limbs can be used to add speed in a swimming/paddling fashion. This gives an evolutionary incentive to increase the power and size of the limbs to increase the length the snakes can float.

Give it a couple million years and they grow into snakes with the ability to fly forever. At least in theory, if their environment forces them to take that route :)

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