Fri May 10, 2019, 05:29 PM

Tiny Jurassic Dinosaur Had Membranous Wings

Tiny Jurassic Dinosaur Had Membranous Wings
May 9, 2019 by Enrico de Lazaro

A previously unknown species of bird-like dinosaur with pterosaur-like wings has been discovered by a team of paleontologists working with the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology and the Center for Excellence in Life and Paleoenvironment at the Chinese Academy of Science. The discovery, reported in the May 9 issue of the journal Nature, sheds some new light on the origins of avian flight.

Named Ambopteryx longibrachium, the new dinosaur lived approximately 163 million years ago (Jurassic period) in what is now China.

The prehistoric creature had a body length of about 12.6 inches (32 cm) and an estimated body mass of 300 g.

It belongs to Scansoriopterygidae, an extinct family of climbing and gliding non-avian theropod dinosaurs.

“Scansoriopterygids differ from other theropods in their body proportions, particularly in the proportions of the forelimb, which supports a bizarre wing structure first recognized in Yi qi, a close relative of Ambopteryx longibrachium,” said team leader Dr. Min Wang and colleagues.

“Unlike other flying dinosaurs, namely birds, these two species have membranous wings supported by a rod-like wrist bone that is not found in any other dinosaur, but is present in pterosaurs and flying squirrels.”

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