Normally I don’t make a a whole article on my site to one other article, but Mrs. Fields article on Sharovipteryx is so amazing, it earned its own place.
Ever seen or flown a kite shaped like this? They are called a delta-wing after the Greek letter shaped like a triangle and are popular because they are so easy to fly. Something about that triangle shape is really good at catching a breeze. Changing the design just a bit also lets you build a sturdy kite able to handle strong winds without problems.
Sharovipteryx [shar-ohv-ip-ter-iks] mirabilis is the name we’ve given to a fossilized reptile found in 1971 in Kyrgyzstan. We’ve only found a single fossil of it, but the one we have is really cool. The guy who found it, A. G. Sharov, tried to give it a name meaning “foot wing” but a bug already had that one, so others named the fossil after him instead.
This reptile is really tiny; from nose to tail tip it was only 20 cm [7.8 inches] long and over half of that length was a thin tail.
Sadly, when they dug the fossil out, the rock around the front legs was damaged, so we have to guess whether they had skin stretched between them. What they did notice was something odd and amazing about its back legs.