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Yi Qi: Yes, Virginia, Dragons Were Real


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Recently, a scansoriopterygid dinosaur was discovered in China that had membranous bat-like wings. No, really. Yes, it really does look like a dragon (well, wyvern, maybe). Yes, the diversity of life is this awesome. Yes, this has proven that literally random chance will every time create something more interesting and amazing than the creators of Jurassic Park sequels can come up with.

Meet Yi Qi:

yi-qi-bat-winged-dinosaur.jpg?1430320457

 

The only proper reaction:

nDgMQtL.jpg

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I don't know, doing my best but not really seeing a dragon in it.

 

It's still really interesting regardless though. "Strange Wings" may be a rather understating name for it, it looks pretty strange all around.

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There are so many things that are weird about this.  At first I was really confused by the fourth bony wing support; theropod dinosaurs only have three fingers.  They're saying it evolved a new bone there, which is really weird.  Usually existing bones are co-opted rather than entirely new ones evolving.  I guess pterosaurs did the same thing with the pteroid bone though.

 

The other weird thing about this is that it's a bird, and a flying bird, but the lift-generating surfaces are clearly not homologous to those of other birds.  How many times did flight evolve in birds?  Three times?  Four times?

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Wait, wait, wait.  It's a scansoriopterygid.  I checked a cladegram.  That means that the last common ancestor of living birds and this thing is more recent than the last common ancestor of microraptor gui and living birds.

 

That potentially means that the ancestors of Yi Qi were flighted, became arboreal and flightless, and then re-evolved a completely different form of flight.

 

Whiskey.  Tango.  Foxtrot.

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That's a Wyvern, don't make me have to sperg out about mythological animals, you don't want me to sperg out about mythological animals.

 

I think it's mostly the head that doesn't look like that of a Dragon, though maybe it's the fact I've only heard of very few myths of dragons that had fur, regardless, It's a really strange creature overall.

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Wait, wait, wait.  It's a scansoriopterygid.  I checked a cladegram.  That means that the last common ancestor of living birds and this thing is more recent than the last common ancestor of microraptor gui and living birds.

 

That potentially means that the ancestors of Yi Qi were flighted, became arboreal and flightless, and then re-evolved a completely different form of flight.

 

Whiskey.  Tango.  Foxtrot.

 

Maybe they should rename it from "Strange wings" to "Holy shit what the fuck is with this thing?"

 

But... that might be a bit too long, and not as professional.

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