April 29th

2015 – Yi qi Described

On this day in dinosaurs, the bat-winged dinosaur spread its wings into the popular imagination.

Yi qi / Emily Willoughby / Wikimedia Commons

With its membranous skin flaps preserved in its fossil remains, Yi qi became an instant sensation–like a miniature bat-dragon-dinosaur, appealing to all manner of dinophiles. And like so many popular dinosaurs, Yi qi brings mysteries, questions, and debates about its true nature.

The questions and speculations concerning the true nature of its long mandibles (were they supporting the skin membrane so the animal could glide or fly like modern bats or flying squirrels or using them as some kind of food-collecting instrument or battle spike?) will not be settled without additional fossil evidence. But these intriguing quandaries continue our path into the realities of the Mesozoic. These ancient riddles only become less foggy with decades of unflagging persistence from researchers both in the field and in the laboratory.

Meanwhile, the rest of us will be forced to satiate ourselves with tantalizing paleo-art of Yi qi being generally awesome. Share your favorite Yi qi photos with us n Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #TDIDinos.