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    An artist's depiction of the Yi qi dinosaur is seen in this undated handout illustration provided by Dinostar Co. Ltd on April 29, 2015

    Strange Bat-Winged Dinosaur Fossil Discovered in China

    © REUTERS / Dinostar Co. Ltd
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    A small, feathered dinosaur that probably had bat-like wing membranes might have been able to glide or fly short distances.

    The fossil of a bat-like dinosaur has been discovered by a local farmer in China.

    The dinosaur is named Yi qi (pronounced "ee chee") and means "strange wing" in Mandarin. It belongs to a group of dinosaurs with long hands called scansoriopterygids that lived 160 million years ago and are so far only known to be from China.

    A small, feathered dinosaur that probably had bat-like wing membranes might have been able to glide or fly short distances.

    The fossilized remains of the creature have a 13-centimetre-long, rod-like bone that lengthens from each wrist, which might have helped to support or position wing membranes. The small areas of membranous tissue also cling around the bones.

    "I know the complexity of the dino-bird transition, but this new find still shocks me," said Xu Xing of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology, and Paleoanthropology (IVPP) in Beijing, who is the lead author of the study, published in the journal Nature.

    "Yi qi lived in the Jurassic, so it was a pioneer in the evolution of flight on the line to birds," Zheng added. "It reminds us that the early history of flight was full of innovations, not all of which survived."

    Similar features have been found in bats and flying squirrels but never before in a dinosaur.

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    fossils, paleontologists, dinosaur, evolution, China, Beijing
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