Fossils

Scientists have discovered a tiny bat-like dinosaur

A tiny-bat like dino
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.

Sherpa clue: Early human species find at high altitude in Tibet

Fossilized jaw discovered in Tibet
Photo: Dongju Zhang/Lanzhou University/American Association for the Advancement of Science

The confirmation a 160,000-year-old fossilized jaw unearthed in Tibet belongs to the Denisovans, a species distinct from modern humans and Neanderthals, sheds new light on the hominid and indicates another link to Himalayan people.

Details: A Buddhist monk found half of the lower jaw of the Denisovans, an extinct sister group of Neanderthals, in a cave in the 1980s. He gave it to a local religious leader before it reached scientists, who studied it for 9 years. Previous bone fragment discoveries and DNA analysis led to the hypothesis that the Denisovans lived near Siberia, but the new study, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, confirms the Denisovans were more widespread.