Bat or Dinosaur? Whatever it is, it Flew without Feathers

Scientists are baffled by a recent fossil discovery, as said Jurassic-era creature may have been a dinosaur with bat wings. Or was it a bat with a dinosaur body, or another type of prehistoric animal altogether?

Not surprisingly, its Chinese discoverers called the fossil Yi qi, or “strange wing” in Mandarin, and posted their findings on Wednesday in the journal Nature. What makes this aptly-named creature special is that it may have likely tried to fly on wings that didn’t have any feathers on them. Scientists believe this may have been one of the animal kingdom’s first attempts to fly, but for the most part, it’s an utter mystery.

In the words of China Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology specialist Xu Xing, the mystery dinosaur is a classic example of why evolution is such a complex process. It is also a “failed experiment,” said Xu, an “evolutionary dead end” that’s quite hard to figure out in this modern day. “Over the last 30 years, there were so many discoveries made that demonstrate birds are really descendants of dinosaurs,” Xu continued. “It’s a great example showing how dinosaurs evolved into birds.”

Xu further added that the “strange wing” dinosaur may have simply glided in order to move in the air, as opposed to actually flapping the wings and flying. He is currently trying to find more fossils of the dinosaur to further figure out how it was able to fly. The fossil is currently held in a Shandong Province museum.