This chapter takes a look at the animals and the occasional plants that can fly. It considers the benefit of flight despite the great expenditure it takes for life already reaping the benefits of a breathable atmosphere to carve out its ecological niche aboveground. Active flight after all provides opportunities for reproduction, migration—among other things—for both plants and animals. This chapter will, however, focus largely on flying animals—specifically three main groups: insects, reptiles, and birds. The earliest known aviators are the flying insects. Reptiles have the distinction of being the oldest known true-flying vertebrates, with birds comprising the second major group of flying vertebrates.
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