• bat dinosaur Yi Gi

bat dinosaur Yi Gi (Photo : YouTube)

The fossil of a small dinosaur, which may have been able to fly over short distances with its bat-like wings, has been discovered by Chinese scientists.

According to the Global Times, the fossil remains of the winged-dinosaur were uncovered in northern China's Hebei Province. The dinosaur, which has been named Yi qi (literally "strange wings" in Chinese) is said to have lived about 160 million years ago.

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The fossil has been identified as belonging to a small group of dinosaurs, known as scabsoriopterygids, whose remains have so far only been unearthed in China. This species of dinosaurs are believed to come from a lineage that evolved into birds.

"Yi qi was a pioneer in dinosaur flight evolution and a reminder of how different limbs would be if the evolutionary tree ended up at a dead end in the early history of flight," said Zheng Xiaoting, co-author of the report published in the journal Nature.

Reports indicate that this incredible dinosaur had rod-like bones which extended from each wrist, kind of like those found on bats and flying squirrels.

According to the lead author of the study, Xu Xing, who is also a researcher at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing, this is the first time that scientists have seen the bone structure of this type of dinosaur.

Xu added that Yi qi bones may have acted as a support for the wing membranes when the dinosaur glided or was in flight. He also said small patches of membranous tissue were discovered clinging to the bones.

The scientists believe that the flying dinosaurs would not have been very competitive in the air and it is very likely that they may have glided only between trees or for short distances.