I’ve just GOT to write about this.
Recently, a new dinosaur from China has been discovered and named. It is called Yi qi – yes, that’s it’s full scientific genus and species name; not very impressive, is it? Well, it’s name might be boring and unimaginative as hell, but the creature itself is @#$%&*+ mind-blowing as @#$%!!! It’s a feathered therapod – no surprise there, since so many have been found in the past twenty or so years. Yes, it had wings – again, not exactly news-worthy since many other winged dinosaurs have been found, especially in China. But here’s where my jaw hit the floor. The wings in question were not the wings like a bird. They were the wings of a bat.
Yep, that’s right, you heard me correctly. This little beast had bat-wings.
The small pidgeon-sized Yi possessed wings made of thin skin menbranes stretched between elongated fingers, just like the chiropteran wings of a bat. This is something that I’ve never anticipated. Flying feathered reptilian bat-things! The feathers on its neck and body were very primitive – more like thin string-like whisps than real feathers. The creature had three fingers on each hand and an unofficial fourth finger, “Huh?” I can hear all of you saying. To make up for a lack of anchoring points for its wing, one of the bones in the animal’s wrist evolved into a long spike, looking like a finger, which was used to provide more surface area to the wing by stretching it out, thereby generating more lift.
As if all of this wasn’t brain-melting enough, Yi lived 160 million years ago during the tail end of the Middle Jurassic. That means that this baby pre-dates Archaeopteryx by approximately ten million years!!!
Holy flying therapods, Batman!
It must be stated, though, that the stiff inflexible structure of the wings made it unlikely that Yi could literally fly in the full definition of the word. More likely, it was a highly-evolved glider.
For more info on this absolutely…I can’t think of an appropriate advective to express my jubilance…discovery, look here.