LOS ANGELES - A 163-million-year-old fossil of a tiny dinosaur with bat-like wings was unveiled in the journal Nature and it’s only the second membranous-winged, feathered dinosaur to ever be found.
The creature, named Ambopteryx longibrachium, was discovered by a farmer in 2017 outside of a village in northeastern China, according to National Geographic. But renderings of the creature and fossil images weren’t released until Thursday, when Nature published the findings.
The winged beast is part of a family called scansoriopterygidae. In that group, there is also Yi qi, which was the first dinosaur with bat-like wings discovered in 2015.
When Yi qi was unearthed, he had styliform elements on his wings that no other dinosaur had. That is, until Ambopteryx’s discovery. The new dinosaur has the same elements on its wings and provides support for the existence of more dinosaurs with those small bones and wing membranes.
Min Wang, a Chinese paleontologist who studied the winged dinosaur’s fossil, said he doesn’t believe the creature could actually flap its wings, but rather used the wings to glide through the air in short bursts, according to CNN.
A YouTube video provided by Wang and the Institute of Vertebrate, Paleontology and Paleoanthropology as well as the Chinese Academy of Sciences, showed a rendering of the dinosaur gliding through trees.
The fossil indicated that the tiny dinosaur was about a foot long and weighed about 10 ounces, according to CNN.