Paleontologist Garety Dyke at the University College Dublin in Ireland suggested that an extinct dinosaur called Sharovipteryx mirabilis was the world's first delta-wing flyer:
Sharovipteryx mirabilis is known from only a single fossil. It was about 8 inches long, weighed less than a tenth of a pound and lived during the late Triassic, a time when the first dinosaurs were still evolving. Scientists knew that S. mirabilis had a membrane stretched across its hind legs, which allowed it to glide, but the exact shape of this membrane and the way it was attached to the animal's body has been debated.
In a new study, Gareth Dyke, a paleontologist at the University College Dublin in Ireland, and colleagues used wind-tunnel data from modern flying lizards and computer modeling to propose a new membrane configuration for S. mirabilis, one they say is unique because it is grounded in aerodynamics.