You know something is incontrovertibly true when even The New York Times—the journalistic paragon of staid, down-the-middle, gotta-hear-both-sides coverage—can’t even bring itself to hedge. It is through applying this principle today that we can say, without any hesitation, that Yi qi, a new type of dinosaur recently discovered in China, was a total fuckin’ piece of crap.
Let’s dive into the specs on this bad boy. According to the Times, Yi qi was first discovered by a farmer in 2015, and was found to have been in possession of a bizarre anatomy. Not only did the little dino have bat-like wings, it also possessed an “extraordinary long bone jutting out from its wrist,” which one of the scientists quoted in the Times described as “like Edward Scissorhands.”
Naturally, paleontologists went about trying to figure how this beastie would have even gone about flying. Through the use of some fancy lasers and soft-tissue analysis, they were able to determine what Yi qi’s wings might have actually looked like, and then ran simulations to see how effective they were. What they discovered is that this winged turd, which didn’t even stick around long enough to become an ancestor of birds, was an offense to both God and nature:
With wing models in hand, Dr. Dececchi ran the dinosaurs through a panoply of mathematical models to test its flight ability. “I tried to give them the benefit of the doubt: the biggest wings, the most muscles, the fastest flapping,” he said.New York Times
The creatures failed even the most generous models. Their pectoral muscles were too weak to achieve flapping flight. They could not sprint fast enough to launch themselves from the ground. They were poor turners. They could not even take off after running on an incline while furiously flapping their wings.
The only scenario left was a bumbling glide wherein the dinosaurs stretched out their arms like flying squirrels and jumped from tree to tree, clattering among the branches.
Clear your mind, and imagine the world as it was in the late Jurassic era. The world is wild and wonderful, covered in jungles and forests so thick that it’s hard to believe such uninhibited life ever existed on the same planet we know. All around you are the sounds of the natural world: gusts of wind gently bending branches and fluttering leaves, the steady thrum of insects, a pristine stream babbling ceaselessly. Suddenly you hear a crack of twigs and an excited shuffling of limbs. Could it be a dinosaur? Perhaps it is a brontosaurus, making awe-inspiring strides through the jungle in search of vegetation to consume. You hear the noise again, and then, above you, a loud, meaty, THWAP.
Something is suddenly tumbling down from the canopy at alarming speed. Branches are shivering and the jungle is filled with a crackling sound as the thing hurtles down, down, down. A mass of flesh zips right past your head, and meets the ground at your feet with an alarming thud. You look down. It’s Yi qi, having just failed to fling itself from one tree to another with its large, useless wings. It makes eye contact with you for just a moment before shuffling itself into the underbrush, dragging its vulgar appendages in the dirt as it moves. You’ve never seen anything so stupid.