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Remains of small flying dinosaur are found in China

By John von Radowitz

Published 30/04/2015

A small dinosaur resembling a cross between a bird and a bat was the product of one of nature's early experiments with flight, scientists believe.

The odd feathered creature discovered in China is thought to have had leathery wings similar to those of bats but never before seen in a dinosaur.

Named 'Yi qi' - Mandarin for "strange wing" - the tiny aviator weighing less than a pound (380 grams) lived during the Jurassic Period 160 million years ago.

Its feathers were not associated with flight, but Yi qi had a peculiar long rod-like bone extending from each wrist.

Experts think it probably supported a wing membrane, as seen in bats and gliding flying squirrels. Professor Xing Xu, from the Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology in Beijing, said: "We don't know if Yi qi was flapping, or gliding, or both, but it definitely evolved a wing that is unique in the context of the transition from dinosaurs to birds."

Some dinosaurs eventually evolved into feathered flying birds, which remain to this day.

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