• A dinosaur

A dinosaur (Photo : YouTube/nature video)

Researchers in China have discovered the fossil of a small dinosaur with bat-like wings, according to NBC News. The creature is described in a paper published in Nature.

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The tiny dinosaur is named Yi qi, which means strange wing in Mandarin. The creature belongs to a dinosaur group called scansoriopterygids that have only been discovered in China.

Xing Xu, who led the research team, said that they thought giving this small dinosaur a name which means strange wing was appropriate because no other dinosaur or bird has a wing of the same type.

According to the study, the new dinosaur has thin rods of bone extending from each wrist that is similar to those found on bats and flying squirrels. The creature lived in the Jurassic Period (about160 million years ago). The small dinosaur was covered in fluffy feathers and about the size of a sparrow.

Kevin Padian, a paleontologist at the University of California-Berkeley, said that the 160-million-year-old dinosaur had membranous tissue and feathers, but possibly didn't have flapping wings. He further said that it is possible that the dinosaur could glide in a way similar to a flying squirrel, but that is hypothetical because its body appears out of proportion for a glider.

Padian added that the scientists have had to estimate the complete size and tail end of the dinosaur because the fossil is incomplete. However, the dinosaur was likely quite small because the skull measures 4 centimeters long, USA Today reported.

Padian said that Yi qi does not display any tendency to fly; however, they do not have any other idea of what (the bone) could be so it appears strange.