A strange curiosity in the form of a Jurassic era dinosaur with wings was unearthed recently in China. It has given the paleontologists something to ponder over.
Termed theropods, the bird-like reptiles that were common in the Jurassic period of prehistory have quite a lineage. A new find was recently exhumed from the depths in the Hebei Province of China. Nature journal first reported about this discover on Wednesday.
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Called Yi qi, it is a winged species but has huge and hard feathers like filaments on parts of its frame. While this style of morphology is virtually unknown in dinosaurs, it is a common feature of theropods.
Basically, it is a small bat-like dinosaur that roamed the earth at least 160 million years ago. That is a long time ago indeed. The feathered dinosaur also has remnants of skin on its wings.
It weighs below a pound so it was a compact creature alright. The researchers who are investigating the fossil of this strange admixture of bird and beast say that it is Nature’s way of crossing a bat with a bird.
The experimentative phase in which evolution was headed in that time and place must have been such that after the creation of this anomaly, Nature stopped the further progress of such a line of bizzare and freaky dinosaurs.
There are others who say that it must have been Mother Nature’s way of testing the art of flight in animals. Whatever the case may be, scientists in China say that the creature deserved its title of Yi qi which means “Strange Wing” in Mandarin.
That is because that is exactly what it is and represents. There is simply no other example of such a misfit of evolution. It seems Nature broke the mold after creating this animal. The creature bears a striking resemblance to the Archaeopteryx, that most-common winged bird of the Jurassic times.
China has been the provenance of many a discovery as far as dinosaur fossils are concerned. The fact that this particular beast was a failure when it came to ideas of flight speaks volumes about the blind, trial-and-error methodologies of evolution.
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Scientists at first thought it was a hoax. They couldn’t believe their eyes when they saw it but as they say, seeing is believing. No amount of explanation or rationalization could make sense of this small wonder unearthed from the subterranean depths. Further investigation may yield more such missing links that will complete the picture of the story of evolution on a grand scale.