This is not the first time that such gliding dinosaurs have been discovered. Interestingly enough in 2015, there was another dinosaur fossil that had bat-like wings, discovered just 50 miles away from the place the second dinosaur was found.
In a major breakthrough in paleontology, scientists have now confirmed about a new species of dinosaur with bat-like wings in China. The fossilized remains of the dinosaur were discovered in Liaoning, in northeast China by a farmer in 2017, reports CNN.
The dinosaur fossils were unveiled in the journal Nature, and it is confirmed to be the second feathered dinosaur found with signs of large membranes on its wings. The gliding dinosaur is called Ambopteryx Longibrachium and it might just pave the way for scientists to understand more about how dinosaurs evolved into birds.
When Min Wang, the Chinese paleontologist and lead author of a study, did his research on the dinosaur, he was a bit confused at first: "It was nothing like a bird. Nothing like a dinosaur," Wang said. But after delving deep into the fossilized remains, Wang was able to find out that it was a tiny therapod dinosaur with unique forelimbs and membranous wings. And the dinosaur fossil is said to be at least 163-million-year-old.
New species of dinosaur! Has bat-like wings, could shed light on how dinosaurs evolved into birds. This 163-million year old fossil was found in China in 2017. The paleontologist who found it says it confused him since it looked nothing like a bird and nothing like a dinosaur. pic.twitter.com/4nqzuFH3mL— Preston Phillips (@PrestonTVNews) May 10, 2019
However, this is not the first time that such gliding dinosaurs have been discovered. Interestingly enough in 2015, there was another dinosaur that also had a bat-like wing that was discovered just 50 miles away from the place the second dinosaur was found. This only goes on to prove that the forests of ancient China were indeed home to dinosaurs with bat-like wings.
“The most exciting thing, for me, is that it shows that some dinosaurs evolved very different structures to become volant, or capable of some form of flight," Wang told Smithsonian magazine.
The first dinosaur found with this feature was the Yiqi, found in 2015. It was one of the most debated topics in paleontology during the modern era. "Some people were not convinced by Yiqi. Soft tissue is not easily preserved in fossil record," Wang added.
Wang found the connection between the two dinosaurs and said that both of them belonged to a small family of dinosaurs called scansoriopterygids. He added that it was the soft tissue in Ambopteryx fossil that shed light for its bat-like flight.
But the lead author of the study made it clear that tiny dinosaur might not have been able to flap its wings, especially considering its size which would have been around 32 centimeters (about 1 foot) in length and weighed about 306 grams (10 ounces).
"I would vote for gliding flight. The most important feature is that it doesn't have flight muscle -- the sternum -- that would have allowed it to flap its wings," Wang told CNN.
Chinese scientists have found the remains of a bizarre Jurassic dinosaur with membranous wings, showing a strange but unsuccessful attempt to fly in the evolution process from dinosaur to bird. https://t.co/TK40bgFHZb pic.twitter.com/Tf3c14MSkx— China Daily (@ChinaDaily) May 9, 2019
China has been at the forefront of many discoveries involving fossils of dinosaurs that found themselves in the midst of a series of volcanic eruptions more than 100 million years ago. The country has indeed become a treasure trove for dinosaur fossils.
"So far, all known scansoriopterygids are from the Late Jurassic -- this unique membranous wing structure did not survive into the Cretaceous," Wang said. "I hope we can find more of these dinosaurs to learn about the dinosaur-bird transition and the evolution of flight in dinosaurs," he concluded.