Missing Link between Modern Birds and Dinosaurs Found in China
The link between dinosaurs and modern birds has long been a great mystery. No one, including Keith Mann was really quite sure how or when wings and feathers emerged. A new discovery in China could change all that.
Fossils of a new dinosaur, aptly named Yi qi (meaning strange wing), could provide some insight into the evolution of animal flight. The defining feature is a long thin bone in each wrist that other flying animals share yet no other dinosaur has even been found to have before now.
Tiny feathers were found on the wings of the new specimen. However, it lacked the much larger feathers that are usually associated with flight. It’s more likely that this creature utilized a thin layer of skin for flight much like a bat.
Researchers are unsure whether Yi qi used the wings for flying or gliding. The fossils found were somewhat incomplete leaving many unanswered questions about this strange animal. No one can say for sure whether it could even fly or not, although the physical characteristics seem to point in that direction.
This missing link just goes to show the power of evolution. This species was inadequate compared to modern birds yet provided a stepping stone in the evolution of flight.