A 3-D reconstruction of Ambopteryx longibrachium. Image: Min Wang, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Scientists have found new evidence that bat-like dinosaurs once fluttered through the skies.

What's new: A tiny dinosaur with membranous, bat-like wings lived during the Upper Jurassic period, according to a study in Nature on Wednesday. A fossil of the species — named Ambopteryx longibrachium — was found in northeastern China's Liaoning Province and dated to around 163 million years ago, bolstering the conclusions of a 2015 study detailing a less well-preserved but similar fossil finding called Yi qi. The specimen in the new study, by Min Wang and colleagues from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, is superbly preserved — researchers were even able to glean information from its stomach contents.

Details: The new species likely weighed only about 200 grams and could have fit in your hand, paleontologist and study author Jingmai O’Connor, told Science. “It would have been this tiny, bizarre-looking, buck-toothed thing like nothing alive today.”

  • It also had feathers, along with bat-like, membrane wings supported by a long, pointed wrist bone, a type of structure that has been found in non-dinosaur flying vertebrates such as bats and pterosaurs.
  • Scientists aren't yet sure exactly how this winged dinosaur flew.
  • Ambopteryx longibrachium likely points to changes in wing structure around the time that scansoriopterygids, a family of climbing and gliding dinosaurs, split with bird lineages.
  • In other words, it may represent an evolutionary dead-end that consisted of bat-like dinosaurs, and there may be other flying dinos that we don't yet know about.

The bottom line: The study, along with other research, puts forward the idea that membranous wings and elongated forelimbs in scansoriopterygids were likely short-lived evolutionary experiments with flight, since feathered wings and the birds we know of today came to predominate later.

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Two officers shot in Louisville amid Breonna Taylor protests

Police officers stand guard during a protest in Louisville, Kentucky. Photo: Ben Hendren/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Louisville Metro Police Department said two officers were shot downtown in the Kentucky city late Wednesday, just hours after a grand jury announced an indictment in the Breonna Taylor case.

Driving the news: Metrosafe, the city's emergency services, said it received reports of a shooting at South Brook St. and Broadway Ave., near the area where protests were taking place. A police spokesperson told a press briefing the injuries of both officers were not life-threatening. One officer was "alert and stable" and the other was undergoing surgery, he said.

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Biden: Breonna Taylor indictment "does not answer" call for justice

Former Vice President Joe Biden. Photo: Leigh Vogel/Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday condemned the grand jury indictment of a Louisville police officer who entered Breonna Taylor's home in March in a botched drug raid that led to her death, saying in a statement the decision "does not answer" for equal justice.

The big picture: Biden called for reforms to address police use of force and no-knock warrants, while demanding a ban on chokeholds. He added that people "have a right to peacefully protest, but violence is never acceptable."

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