In the year 2007, a farmer came across a very interesting fossil. Fast forward to 2015, this fossil was discovered to be a dinosaur who can climb really well, and it also had some kind of wing similar to flying squirrels, and named it Yi qi (meaning, “strange wing”).
In 2017, in the village of Wubaiding, northeastern China, another farmer stumbled across another fossil. When Min Wang from the Chinese Academy of Sciences saw this, he became sure of one thing: this was another bat-winged dinosaur.
Studying the beautifully preserved and nigh-complete skeleton, Wang took note of the creature’s sparrow-size body, the quill-like feathers on its neck, and its stubby tail. But when he looked more closely at the left arm, he saw a thin bone coming down from its wrist—a rod as long as the entire forearm, but not jointed like a finger. “I shouted, and my heartbeat elevated,” he says.
Hold your arm out to the side, palm facing forward. Imagine a bony rod extending downward from your wrist. Now imagine that rod supports a membrane that stretches from your fingertips to your side. That’s how Wang saw his new dinosaur—a feathered animal with a pair of bat-like wings. He named it Ambopteryx longibranchium, from the Latin for “both wings, long upper arm.”
More details of this discovery at The Atlantic.
(Image Credit: Chung-Tat Cheung)