STL Science Center

STL Science Center

12 November 2016

True Bat Wings

After a little contemplation it was decided that we should continue our discussion on bat wings, but instead of continuing with small maniraptoran dinosaurs we are going to look at the origin of the phrase bat-like. We described the wings of Yi qi as bat-like and many pterosaurs are described in the same way. However, the origin of the descriptor comes from the small flying mammals that people were most comfortable with (or uncomfortable with). One of the earliest complete bat fossils belongs to an animal known as Icaronycteris. The small microchiropteran, a group of small bats dependent on echolocation, dates from the Eocene and contains three recognized species: Icaronycteris index Jepsen 1966, Icaronycteris menui Russell et al.1973, and Icaronycteris sigei Smith et al. 2007. The type species was originally recovered from the Green River Formation and constitutes the most completely described specimen of the genus. Clearly already a "fully functional" bat, one of the earliest bats was already well adapted for the kind of life that bats still adhere to today.
©Andrew Savedra, Royal Ontario Museum specimen

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