Newly Discovered Bat-Like Dinosaur Reveals the Intricacies of Prehistoric Flight. Though Ambopteryx longibrachium was likely a glider, the fossil is helping scientists discover how dinosaurs first took to the skies

Newly Discovered Bat-Like Dinosaur Reveals the Intricacies of Prehistoric Flight. Though Ambopteryx longibrachium was likely a glider, the fossil is helping scientists discover how dinosaurs first took to the skies

  • An unexpected discovery from China reveals an enigmatic family of dinosaurs with bat-like wings.
  • While the small dinosaur had a coating of fuzz, its wings were primarily made up of a membrane stretched between the fingers and body.
  • Chinese Academy of Sciences paleontologist Min Wang and colleagues have just named a second bat-like dinosaur related to Yi in the journal Nature: Ambopteryx longibrachium.
  • The finding not only reinforces the case that such dinosaurs existed, but “Paleontologists can now draw stronger biomechanical parallels between the wings of these dinosaurs and those of pterosaurs.”
  • The brain anatomies of airborne dinosaurs, for example, can show specific functions related to flying, but unfortunately the little bat-like dinosaur specimens have been somewhat smooshed over geologic time.
  • The skeletal details of these dinosaurs will no doubt play into the ongoing debate about how some dinosaurs, including the first birds, started to flap and fly.
  • Yi and Ambopteryx represent another way dinosaurs took to the air, perhaps gliding from tree to tree to find food and shelter, but ultimately they were destined for the ground, preserved for 160 million years in the rocks of modern-day China for paleontologists to find and puzzle over while trying to piece together the mysteries of dinosaur flight.