The 163-million-year-old dinosaur was about the size of a sparrow and was covered in fluffy feathers. But unlike previous fossil dinosaurs with aerodynamic appendages, Yi has thin rods of bone jutting from each wrist. “When I saw the rod-like bone, I was really confused,” says paleontologist Xing Xu of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. “There is nothing comparable in any other dinosaur.”
According to Xing and his team, the bony rods on the dinosaur’s wrist likely supported bat-like wings. The discovery, reported today in Nature, joins a growing body of evidence that the direct ancestors of birds weren’t the only dinosaurs taking to the air, and it may add to our understanding of the evolution of flight. Not to mention that a dinosaur that may have swooped around like Batman is just plain cool.
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