Yi Qi (‘strange wing’) new bat-like dinosaur/bird

It’s May 2, 2015 and I’m going to let this blogpost stand unaltered, but please see May 2 for notes that the so-called styliform process is really just a displaced radius.

The big news today is the announcement of a new Chinese dinosaur/bird, Yi Qi, with a long wrist bone that extended into soft membranes trailing the forelimb, likely to extend them like a bat wing (Fig. 1).

Two possible reconstructions were offered (Fig. 1). I offer below a new reconstruction that does not have the forelimbs overextended at the elbow and shoulders.

Figure 1. Above: the two Yi Qi reconstructions offered by Xu et al. Below: a little bend at the elbows, as in bats, birds and pterosaurs, probably replicates the wing a little bit better.

Figure 1. Above: the two Yi Qi reconstructions offered by Xu et al. Below: a little bend at the elbows, as in bats, birds and pterosaurs, probably replicates the wing a little bit better and adds strength. Also the feet are tucked under, as in birds. Click to enlarge.

From the Xu et al. abstract:
“Most surprisingly, Yi has a long rod-like bone extending from each wrist, and patches of membranous tissue preserved between the rod-like bones and the manual digits. Analogous features are unknown in any dinosaur but occur in various flying and gliding tetrapods, suggesting the intriguing possibility that Yi had membranous aerodynamic surfaces totally different from the archetypal feathered wings of birds and their closest relatives.” 

References
Xu X, Zheng X-T, Sullivan C, Wang X-L, Xing l, Wang Y, Zhang X-M, O’Connor JK, Zhang F-C and Pan Y-H 2015. A bizarre Jurassic maniraptoran theropod with preserved evidence of membranous wings.Nature (advance online publication)
doi:10.1038/nature14423

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