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A number of animals have evolved aerial locomotion, either by powered flight or by gliding. Flying and gliding animals (volant animals) have evolved separately many times, without any single ancestor. Flight has evolved at least four times, in the insects, pterosaurs, birds, and bats. Gliding has evolved on many more occasions. Usually the development is to aid canopy animals in getting from tree to tree, although there are other possibilities. Gliding, in particular, has evolved among rainforest animals, especially in the rainforests in Asia (most especially Borneo) where the trees are tall and widely spaced. Several species of aquatic animals, and a few amphibians have also evolved to acquire this gliding flight ability, typically as a means of evading predators.

Flying and gliding animals

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A number of animals have evolved aerial locomotion, either by powered flight or by gliding. Flying and gliding animals (volant animals) have evolved separately many times, without any single ancestor. Flight has evolved at least four times, in the insects, pterosaurs, birds, and bats. Gliding has evolved on many more occasions. Usually the development is to aid canopy animals in getting from tree to tree, although there are other possibilities. Gliding, in particular, has evolved among rainforest animals, especially in the rainforests in Asia (most especially Borneo) where the trees are tall and widely spaced. Several species of aquatic animals, and a few amphibians have also evolved to acquire this gliding flight ability, typically as a means of evading predators.

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