“Bat wing” dinosaur found, according to reports in Science (AAAS) News 29 April 2015, and ABC News in Science 30 April 2015, and Nature News and Views 29 April 2015 doi:10.1038/nature14392, and Nature vol. 521, 70–73 (07 May 2015) doi:10.1038/nature14423. Scientists in China have found a partial skeleton of small pigeon sized dinosaur with long arms, three long fingers and a rod-like structure projecting from its wrist. The rod could be bone or calcified cartilage, and is much longer than the creature’s fingers. The fossil also shows traces of a membrane extending between the fingers and the rod.

The scientists suggest the membrane was a kind of aerodynamic surface, which could enable the animal to glide, or maybe even fly. However, most of the rear half of the creature is missing so there is no way of knowing what its pelvis or tail were like, and whether they would allow it to glide or fly. If an animal’s centre of gravity is too far back it will stall if it tries to fly or glide because its rear end will fall down. Corwin Sullivan, a Canadian palaeontologist, and one of the research team, suggested it was “mainly gliding, perhaps in combination with a bit of awkward flapping”. The researchers also claim the animal had “filamentous feathers” on its body and limbs.

The fossil has been named Yi qi which means ‘strange wing’ in Mandarin Chinese, and is dated at 160 million years old. Corwin Sullivan commented: “Yi qi seems to have been part of a Jurassic radiation of small dinosaurs that were experimenting with different ways of becoming airborne. All these dinosaurs were closely related to birds and, in fact, it’s best to think of birds as just one group that emerged during that evolutionary radiation – a group that happened to be extremely long-lived and successful”.

ABC, Science

Editorial Comment: Jumping off a cliff if you don’t have the right equipment for flying or even gliding is one short trip to extinction. So the idea of this dino “experimenting with different ways of becoming airborne” is completely mythical.

The so called “filamentous feathers” are really just filaments, i.e. thin strands, some of which are branched, but in no way resemble real bird feathers. This is typical of many so-called feathered dinosaurs, and according to one (non-creationist) bird expert Alan Feduccia are really just strands of fibrous protein from partially degraded skin. See our report “Dinosaur Feathers or Fibres” here.

As noted in some of the reports about this creature, its name Yi qi (pronounced “ee chee”) now holds the record for the shortest official name for a dinosaur. Strange beast for sure. (Ref. reptiles, aerodynamics, flying)

Evidence News vol. 15, No. 7
13 May 2015
Creation Research Australia