back to article BATWINGED DINO-PIGEON causes FLAP in bone-boffinry circles

Chinese dinoboffins have announced the discovery of one of the oddest creatures that may have ever attempted flight. The critter lived during the Jurassic Period, about 160 million years ago, 10 million years before the appearance of the first bird. The pigeon-sized reptile, named Yi qi ("E-chee") or Strange Wing in Mandarin, …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Yi qi was the size of a pigeon - and predates modern birds"

    If it predates modern birds it would not be able to predate a modern bird. In other news, fruit flies like a banana.

  2. ravenviz
    Boffin

    Evolution: tried and tested

  3. Little Mouse

    "To fly actively, an animal must be able to execute a flight stroke that can generate a vortex wake that propels it forward," he said, adding that "no evidence presented so far suggest that Yi qi had this ability."

    Did the Chinese scientists conclude that it flew actively, or just that it had wings? Maybe gliding was more its thing?

    1. Mage Silver badge
      Alien

      Gliding?

      C.f. the Flying Squirrel

      1) It can't really fly but glides.

      2) It has no belly button (see item 3)

      3) It's not only not a Squirrel (or bat), but oddly a Marsupial.

      Nature has stuff a guy inventing a Bestiary wouldn't make up!

      1. Martin Budden

        Re: Gliding?

        Dear Mage, I'd like to correct you if I may.

        Flying squirrels are actual squirrels, not marsupials.

        Gliding possums are marsupials but not flying squirrels - please don't get them confused.

        While it is true that marsupials* (including gliding possums) don't have a placenta, they are born with a yolk sac scar which is a belly button. Due to the very young age at birth the scar fades away as the animal grows, but theoretically the scar (belly button) does still exist.

        *Monotremes are marsupials which lay eggs instead of giving birth to live young. The only two monotreme species are platypus and echidna. Even monotremes have a yolk sac scar (belly button).

  4. tony72

    Petrosaurs?

    "Its bat-like wings are made of membranous skin, rather than feathers, just like the wings of the extinct flying reptiles known as petrosaurs, of which it is a contemporary but not a relative."

    What are petrosaurs? Gasoline-guzzling flying dinosaurs if I had to guess; sounds scary.

    Pterosaurs, on the other hand...

    [Yes, I could have used the corrections button, but where's the fun in that?]

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Petrosaurs?

      What are petrosaurs?

      Rock lizards. They fly like a brick.

    2. Martin Budden

      Re: Petrosaurs?

      [Yes, I could have used the corrections button, but where's the fun in that?]

      I've used the corrections button several times, but I never get any reply or acknowledgement. I don't think I'll bother any more. I understand that the Reg journos are keen to knock off and go to the pub as soon as possible (which is fine by me) but if I've gone to the effort to send a correction then surely it's not too much to ask for a very short acknowledgement that it has been received and noted - even "ta" will do.

      1. Pookietoo

        Re: I never get any reply or acknowledgement

        Sometimes I get a reply, sometimes not - I imagine that some corrections are flagged by many readers, and the author can't really be expected to acknowledge all of them.

  5. Alister Silver badge

    Nature editor Henry Gee, a palaeontologist and evolutionary biologist, said a feathered dinosaur with a wing membrane "is not something anyone would ever have expected to find."

    As a complete lay-person, I wonder why that's the case.

    If it's accepted that there is an evolutionary link between dinosaurs and birds, then to me, there must have been a point in the evolutionary process where you would have pre-bird lizards with some type of wing, or post-lizard birds with wings, and therefore the existence of fossils of these must have been expected to exist, even if no-one had yet found one?

    The fact that there are no obvious signs of feathers on the wing doesn't mean it's much different anatomically to present day birds - feathers on flight surfaces were perhaps a later refinement.

    My roast chicken this weekend had a wing membrane without feathers...

    1. Sir Sham Cad

      Re: I wonder why that's the case

      I'm no paleontologist but I think it's because every example of a feathered dinosaur with wings that we've found have been feathered wings and, until now, only the pterosaurs have been known to have a membrane.

      It does seem obvious to me, though. Feathers were around before feathered wings evolved so if a feathered animal around that time was evolving to fly it really only had one option for limb form.

      Still, if it is a genuine find (always a worry when there's only one of them) it's a cracker!

      1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

        Re: I wonder why that's the case

        "Still, if it is a genuine find (always a worry when there's only one of them) it's a cracker!"

        This is palaeontology: most of the time, they barely have a tenth of one.

        1. Sir Sham Cad

          Re: most of the time, they barely have a tenth of one.

          Yes, but with luck they find more identifiably the same remains in another location with maybe a couple of additional bones to add to the jigsaw puzzle so there's evidence that there wasn't just one of these things which, in the wake of the "Archeoraptor" hoax, would make it a strong candidate for a healthy dose of scepticism.

          I'm quite happy that they may not have much of a complete skeleton. Less so that what they have got has only been unearthed in one location. That said, I hope they do find many more because dino-boffinry is cool. Bloody hard but cool.

  6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Subjective titles

    The other day a specimen was enigmatic, now it's bizarre. Nature seems to be allowing subjective descriptions in papers' titles. Is nothing immune from marketroids?

  7. AbelSoul
    Trollface

    Flaps

    Henry Gee stated that he expected the paper "will cause a great deal of flap."

    Which is probably a bit more than the unfortunate little Yi qi was able to achieve.

  8. Hollerith 1

    Hoping soon to be in a conversation...

    ...where I can casually have "maniraptoran theropod" trip off my tongue.

    Ladies, form an orderly queue...

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Hoping soon to be in a conversation...

      "Ladies, form an orderly queue..."

      For the exit? :P

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Strange Wing in Mandarin sauce, very tasty

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