A small dinosaur with bat-like wings has been discovered by scientists in China.
The fossil has a peculiar wrist structure more commonly seen in winged animals such as bats and flying squirrels.
The researchers, writing in the international journal Nature, suggest the discovery raises questions about our beliefs on the origins of flight.
In this video clip, the scientists discuss the implications of the find:
At the base of the family tree of dinosaurs, thought to have eventually led to the evolution of birds, is a group of tiny feathered dinosaurs called scansoriopterygids.
A small scansoriopterygid unearthed from 160 million-year-old sediments in China is estimated to have weighed around 380 grams and has been named Yi qi or “strange wing”.
The fossil analysed by Xing Xu of the Chinese Academy of Science and colleagues has feathers although not the type associated with flight.
It has an unusually long rod-like bone extending from each wrist, with membranous tissue connected, which has not been seen in any dinosaur.
The authors are unable to confidently determine the mode of aerial motion for this dinosaur because the wing membrane is incomplete.
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