By Tim Binnall
Paleontologists in China have announced the discovery of a unique-looking new species of dinosaur that sported bat-like wings. Fossilized remains of the ancient creature, believed to have existed on Earth a whopping 163 million years ago, were reportedly unearthed in a north eastern region of the country two years ago. A subsequent study of the oddity resulted in a paper published this week which heralded the Ambopteryx longibrachium into the pantheon of dinosaurs.
What is particularly interesting about this newfound creature is its bat-like wings which, scientists say, provide a fascinating glimpse into the evolution of dinosaur flight. They suggest that, since the Ambopteryx longibrachium lived alongside creatures possessing feathered wings, there was a veritable competition among the two types of dinosaurs as to which form thrived best. As is evident by the abundance of birds around the world today, clearly the bat-winged dinosaur did not fare very well when it comes to the proverbial test of time.
Although the Ambopteryx longibrachium was only about the size of a large crow or a squirrel, paleontologist revealed that undigested bones found in the creature's stomach indicate that it was a predator. Its probable method of hunting, they said, was to lurk in trees and then pounce on unsuspecting prey. Dr. Min Wang, who led the study of the creature mused "it was probably quite fierce," which may make its extinction a good thing, since one can only imagine being on the receiving end of one of the dinosaur's attacks.