Maybe ancient birds weren’t so surprisingly modern after all. In the December 4 issue of Current Biology, geology postdoc Nicholas Longrich and colleagues present a detailed reexamination of the wing feathers of Archaeopteryx, one of the first birds, and a winged dinosaur called Anchiornis, each of which flourished about 150 million years ago. The feather pattern analysis suggests that the wings of early birds were more suited for gliding, or perhaps a primitive form of flapping flight, than for highly maneuverable flight—and that wing evolution still had considerable room for improvement.

Yale engineers have invented a new kind of micro fuel cell (MFC), a tiny device that could one day power iPads, smartphones, and other portable electronic gadgets requiring batteries. The prototype MFC, about the same size as Abe Lincoln’s head on a penny, is crafted from a special metal alloy called bulk metallic glass (BMG). Inexpensive BMG fabrication techniques were developed at the university, and in the December online issue of the journal Small, Yale graduate student Ryan C. Sekol ’09MS, ’11MPhil, and colleagues show how the device offers superior performance to current MFCs built from silicon or stainless steel.

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