Unique 'Batman' dinosaur discovered in China
By T.K. Randall
April 30, 2015 · 12 comments
Yi qi had wings that closely resembled those of a bat. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 F. C. Robiller
A sparrow-sized flying dinosaur with wings resembling those of a bat has been unearthed by scientists.
China has been home to a slew of new dinosaur discoveries in recent years and now researchers have announced another new species to add to the list - a small feathered dinosaur named Yi qi which means 'strange wing'.
What sets Yi qi apart from other early flying dinosaurs is its unusual wing structure which exhibits a huge backwards bone on each wrist and a thin tissue membrane that connects the fingers and bones to form a pair of unusual bat-like wings.
While not a direct ancestor of today's birds, Yi qi's unorthodox bat wings are more similar in concept to the gliding mechanisms that have evolved in today's flying squirrels and sugar gliders.
"It definitely evolved a wing that is unique in the context of the transition from dinosaurs to birds," said study lead author Professor Xu Xing.
Yi qi is thought to have lived around 160 million years ago and was part of a little-known group of dinosaurs known as scansoriopterygids of which only a few other specimens have ever been found.
"All told, this is an unexpected, exciting specimen that changes our views on the evolution of flight in dinosaurs," said Dr Mike Habib of the University of Southern California.
Source: The Guardian
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