In 2015 a paleontologist called Xing Xu found the strange fossil of a creature which seemed to be at a crossroad between a bat and a dinosaur. This bat-like dinosaur looked dramatically different in comparison to another dinosaur, featuring a layer of fuzz and the thin, fleshy wings of a bat. The researcher decided to call it Yi Qi.
A new fossil of this type has been unearthed during a recent archeological survey led by researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The specimen looked quite similar to the first one, and it was named Ambropteryx.
The study mentions that the wings of birds near therapod relatives possess a specific and uniform architecture underlined by pinnate flight feathers which are essential for flight. Yi Qi seems to be a scansoriopterygid, and the fossil was traced back to the Middle-Upper Jurrasic period. Ambopteryx is a well-preserved skeleton with traces of fossilized fuzz. The state is so good that the researchers discovered gut contents in the body cavity.
Bat-like Dinosaur Unearthed in China Is The Second One of Its Kind Ever Found
The current train of logic infers that Ambopteryx and Yi Qi were a part of a family of dinosaurs known under the name of scransoriopterygids, a type of dinosaurs which hasn’t been observed in the past. Despite some similarities, there are a few key differences between the two creatures as Ambopteryx has a longer forelimb, and one of the vertebrae at situated towards the end of its tail is fused.
It is unlikely that the wings were used for actual flight, but they may have been used for gliding. The only way to learn more about their functionality would be to examine their brain; a task which is no longer possible since they have been flattened.
The fossils have already picked the attention of a large number of researchers due to their elusive nature. A significant focus is placed on the Ambopteryx skeleton which was praised as the best fossil of its type.