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Did Batman Evolve From a Bat Dinosaur?

Did Batman Evolve From a Bat Dinosaur?

Jun 1, 2015

No, he didn’t.  Batman is a human as far as the iconic 1930s comic book series says.

However, more evidence that the non-fictional winged creatures known as birds evolved from dinosaurs has been uncovered recently in China.  Yi qi, which is Mandarin for “strange wing” is a small pigeon-sized dinosaur with bat-like wings and feathers.  Its fossils were discovered by a farmer in the Tiaojishan Formation of Hebei Province, China.  The fossils date to 160 million years ago, known as the Middle Upper-Jurassic Period.  Even though researchers speculate that the unique dinosaur may not have been an agile flyer, it provides a serious evolutionary clue as to how birds and bats came into existence.

 

The Yi Qi fossil that was discovered by the Chinese farmer.

The Yi qi fossil that was discovered by the Chinese farmer.

 

The researchers say that the findings show one of the evolutionary experiments in flight that lead to the existence of our current feathered friends.  Because of the dinosaur’s membraned wings, the paleontologists speculate that the creatured glided like a flying squirrel rather than like an agile bird.  Yi qi (pronounced “ee chee”) is especially unusual because of the rodlike structures that extended from the dinosaur’s wrists that were connected by soft tissue, features that were never before seen in any dinosaur fossil.

 

Yi qi's fossil shows bat-like wing structures potentially used for flying.

Yi qi’s fossil shows bat-like wing structures potentially used for flying and/or gliding.

 

The preserved specimen also showed the existence of feathers over the creature’s neck, humerus, and ulna.  Feathers and soft tissue were found along Yi qi’s forelimb and hindlimb.  The bat/bird-like dinosaur had a short snout and has been placed in the Scansoriopterygidae theropoda dinosaur group which means that it was essentially carnivorous but might have had some herbivore and insectivore qualities and was closely related to birds.

 

The three known members of the Scansoriopterygidae family.  (Photo credit: Nature)

The three known members of the Scansoriopterygidae family. (Photo credit: Nature)

 

While Yi qi may not have been Batman’s ancestor, “Holy bat logic!” it is still a rare, beautiful example of one of evolution’s many historical edits that gives us a more detailed look into our Jurassic past.

 

An artist's illustration of what the pigeon-sized dinosaur may have looked like.

An artist’s illustration of what the pigeon-sized dinosaur may have looked like.

 

For more information on this unique creature, check out:

Nature

Science News

 

Andrea Kuipers - I am a well versed, interdisciplinary scientist with a background in marketing, media, & journalism. I am currently finishing up degree number five at Cal State University Fullerton & working in a biochemical/biotechnology lab engineering proteins. Linkedin

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