Fun Ambopteryx Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Oct 20, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Nov 18, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
Ambopteryx facts are about a dinosaur belonging to the Scansoriopterygidae group.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.4 Min

Ambopteryx longibrachium, a dinosaur with bat-like wings that evolved 163 million years ago in China, is a fascinating animal belonging to the Scansoriopterygidae group. This bird-like dinosaur had wings similar to bats but a body covered with feathers. The Ambopteryx fossil discovery in China has made a huge contribution to science, as it is one of the most well-preserved specimens that consisted of not only skeletal parts but also soft tissue, like the membranes of the wings.

The Ambopteryx dinosaurs had a small and light body with an elongated third finger. This feature was also found in the dinosaur Yi, alluding to the fact that both these dinosaurs belong to the same group and evolved in a similar manner. While Ampbopteryx did resemble birds in some aspects, overall, it had a unique appearance, as estimated from its fossil remains. Just like birds, the Ambopteryx fossil was found to have gizzard stones in its stomach. The flight in Ambopteryx is better described as gliding, according to scientists. Further discovery of more fossil specimens of members of this group will make the evolutionary science of these dinosaurs clearer.

 To learn more about Ambopteryx, keep reading! You can also check out Aetonyx facts and Tastavinsaurus facts for kids

Ambopteryx Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Ambopteryx '?

Ambopteryx is pronounced as 'Am-bop-the-riks'.

What type of dinosaur was an Ambopteryx?

Ambopteryx was a Theropod dinosaur belonging to the Scansoriopterygidae family. This species is closely related to Yi, one of the most well-known Scansoriopterygids, due to its membrane-like wings and role in the evolutionary history of flying dinosaurs.

In which geological period did the Ambopteryx roam the Earth?

The Ambopteryx fossils that were discovered indicated that these dinosaurs were present on Earth 163 million years ago, corresponding to the Oxfordian stage of the Late Jurassic era.

When did the Ambopteryx become extinct?

Ambopteryx probably went extinct during the Late Jurassic era itself. One of the reasons could be its inability to compete with other tree-dwelling dinosaurs.

Where did an Ambopteryx live?

Fossils of Ambopteryx longibrachium have been recovered from ‬Liaoning‭ ‬in China, from the ‬Haifanggou Formation.

What was an Ambopteryx's habitat?

The Ambopteryx habitat certainly consisted of trees where they could glide from one branch to another. The climate during this time was warm and wet.

Who did an Ambopteryx live with?

Ambopteryx might have been solitary, as no preserved aggregated fossils belonging to this species have been located yet.

How long did an Ambopteryx live?

In general, smaller dinosaurs had a shorter lifespan in the range of 3-8 years. Perhaps, the Ambopteryx, with its membranous wings and feathers, had a similar life expectancy.

How did they reproduce?

Like most dinosaurs, the reproductive behavior in Ambopteryx has not been established. However, it is certain that they were oviparous in nature, and hence, reproduced by laying eggs. In general, some theropods likely displayed courting behavior and laid their eggs in nests post-fertilization, which was most likely internal.

Ambopteryx Fun Facts

What did an Ambopteryx look like?

Ambopteryx longibrachium had a unique appearance, made up of bat-like wings and a feathered body, which is fascinating to scientists.

The skull fossil points at this dinosaur having a short and blunt head, similar to other members of its family. Being a small dinosaur, the length of an Ambopteryx was not much when measured from its snout to the tip of its pygostyle, which is a set of fused vertebrae.

Another feature of Ambopteryx which puts it at par with other Scansoriopterygids is an elongated third finger. Like Yi, its close relative, Ambopteryx had rod-like bones emerging from its ulna. These bones, known as styliform elements, were curved in nature. It has been postulated that these styliform elements may have been responsible for supporting the wing membrane of this dinosaur species, which extended from the third finger to its abdomen. In fact, the elongated third finger may have also been the point of attachment for the wing-like membrane. These membranous wings were not feathered but provided this Scansoriopterygid with some edge when it came to flying or gliding.

The forelimbs of Ambopteryx longibrachium were longer than its hindlimbs, so these bat-winged dinosaurs were probably used to walking on their hind limbs. Their tail was short and may have been feathered, as well.

Ambopteryx existed 163 million years ago and has one of the best-preserved fossil remains.
*We've been unable to source an image of Ambopteryx and have used an image of Yi instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of Ambopteryx, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at

How many bones did an Ambopteryx have?

Due to the absence of a complete fossil skeleton of this bat-winged dinosaur, it is quite difficult to estimate the exact number of bones it had. Nevertheless, the holotype fossil features bones from the head, shoulder, and neck of the dinosaur.

How did they communicate?

The patterns of communication used by Ambopteryx longibrachium continue to be a mystery. However, scientists have given some insight into how Theropod dinosaurs may have communicated, in general. Theropod dinosaurs were probably unable to make complex sounds and stuck to close-mouthed vocalizations instead. Additionally, in the case of Ambopteryx, their feathers may have been part of their visual display.

How big was an Ambopteryx?

The Ambopteryx size was small, with a length of 1 ft (33 cm). However, the specimen which was discovered and later assigned to be the holotype may have been a sub-adult. In that case, an adult Ambopteryx longibrachium was probably a bit longer, but not by much. Ambopteryx height is yet to be ascertained. Scientists compare these dinosaurs with membranous wings with the starling bird of present times. In comparison to a Velociraptor, which had a length of nearly 6 ft (1.8 m), the Ambopteryx is six times smaller.

How fast could an Ambopteryx move?

The speed of the bat-winged Ambopteryx longibrachium has not yet been established. However, the presence of wings made up of membranes has led scientists to believe that these dinosaurs were used to gliding clumsily from tree to tree instead of flying. So, the nature of their 'flight' could be compared to the sugar gliders and flying squirrels of today's times instead of avian birds.

How much did an Ambopteryx weigh?

Being a small dinosaur species, the weight of this Scansoriopterygid was no more than 0.7 oz (306 g).

What were the male and female names of the species?

The male and female members of Ambopteryx longibrachium are simply referred to as male Ambopteryx and female Ambopteryx, respectively.

What would you call a baby Ambopteryx?

A baby Ambopteryx is known as a hatchling.

What did they eat?

This Theropod dinosaur was an omnivorous animal. This has been deduced from the discovery of perfectly preserved stomach contents of this Scansoriopterygid species. The collection of bones from their stomachs proves they preyed on other smaller animals. Additionally, they also had gizzard stones in their stomach, which is found in the plant-eating birds of current times as well. So, the Ambopteryx diet was most certainly omnivorous.

How aggressive were they?

Given the size of this feathered Scansoriopterygid dinosaur, they may not have been very aggressive. However, they definitely did show some extent of aggressiveness, as they preyed on other animals.

Did you know...

Among dinosaurs, the science of evolution has been furthered by the presence of bat-like wings in the Ambopteryx, which is why it is so well known. This feature has let scientists catch a glimpse of how within the dinosaur species, different forms of evolution took place several million years ago before the winged dinosaurs could establish themselves. In fact, scientists believe flight in dinosaurs evolved four times. The presence of feathers and wings made up of membranes in both Yi and Ambopteryx are examples of how one form of evolution, which ultimately led to a dead-end, came about.

Even though both these Scansoriopterygids were gliding dinosaurs, their development of wings was an important step in the evolutionary history of winged dinosaurs and modern-day birds. This is why Archaeopteryx, considered to be an intermediate species between non-avian dinosaurs and birds, is a relative of Ambopteryx. This whole phenomenon goes on to show how evolution is a form of trial and error, and while some evolutionary traits may lead to a dead-end, every form of evolution is necessary for the various species on Earth to further themselves.

What does the term Ambopteryx mean?

The name 'Ambopteryx' has been formed by combining the words 'ambo' and 'pteryx', which are Latin and Greek, respectively. These words translate to 'both' and 'wing' and have been used to refer to the membrane-like wings of these dinosaurs, which are similar to the bats of today. It also alludes to the bird-like physical structure of this Scansoriopterygid.

What is the shortest dinosaur name?

The dinosaur Yi, closely related to Ambopteryx and also belonging to China, has the shortest name in the dinosaur world. Its full scientific name is Yi qi. 'Yi' stands for 'wing', while 'qi' stands for 'strange', in Mandarin. The name was a way of acknowledging the membranous wings of this dinosaur and was given by Wang Yan, Xu Xing, Jingmai O'Connor, and a few others in 2015.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly dinosaur facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these Incisivosaurus facts, or Xenotarsosaurus facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable dinosaur teeth coloring pages.

Main image by Audrey.m.horn.

Second image by Kumiko.

Ambopteryx Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Small animals

what Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?

Not estimated

What Did They Look Like?

Small with bat-like membranous wings and a short feathered tail

How Much Did They Weigh?

0.7 oz (306 g)

Skin Type


How Long Were They?

1 ft (33 cm)

How Tall Were They?










Scientific Name

Ambopteryx longibrachium

What Were Their Main Threats?

Natural disasters

What Habitat Did They Live In?

Terrestrial habitats

Where Did They Live?

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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