We’re all well aware that dinosaurs came, and still do come, in all manner of odd forms. But even the famous therizinosaurs, with their huge claws, bulgy bellies, and small heads, might well have considered tiny little Yi qi to be the oddest one of all.
Yi, which boasts the shortest name of any dinosaur, is part of a tiny clade of unusual maniraptoran coelurosaurs from Late Jurassic China known as scansoriopterygids. At roughly the mass of a grey parrot (380 grams est.), Yi is the largest scansoriopterygid yet discovered. As with its cousins Epidexipteryx and Scansoriopteryx, the third fingers on Yi’s hands were extremely long and may have helped to support membranous gliding planes of skin. But unlike any other dinosaur, Yi also possessed long, pointed wrist bones that extended back from its forearms. Mind you, it’s still not clear whether these styliform elements were actual solid bone or cartilaginous rods calcified by fossilization, but in any case, they appear to have evolved in order to help support Yi‘s leathery wings. Similar styliform elements can be found in many extent animals such as colugos, anomalures, and flying squirrels, all of which are gliders, not flyers. Whether or not Yi could flap its wings and truly fly is an ongoing debate, but regardless, it has secured its place in the paleontological hall of fame by being the first known dinosaur to travel through the air on wings of skin instead of feathers.
Which brings me to the subject of this review, Yiyi the Yi by PNSO. He is posed rather majestically atop a small branch: leaning forward with his head turning to the left, his wings spread wide apart, and his tail feathers held out behind him. This gives him a height of around 5 cm, a length of 7.5 cm, and a wingspan of 8 cm. His feathery body is coloured bright orange with a yellow underbelly, dark grey for the wings and muzzle, yellow and bright green tail feathers, and black eyes.
As you can see in the photo below, my figure has an unfortunate blotch on the right side of its head. Incidentally, the only known Yi fossil was examined by an electron microscope in twelve places for melanosomes. The results indicated that Yi’s plumage was mostly black with a yellowish-brown hue on the head. Something for PNSO to take note of should they ever opt to create a larger version of this animal. CollectA and Safari might also want to do the same!
Yiyi’s base is light brown painted over with dark brown. His feet are painted rather sloppily with the exact same shade of dark brown, and it makes them look bad. Moreover, PNSO opted to use an extension of the branch Yiyi is standing on as a support for his body. Wouldn’t do at all to have a figure that sags, after all. But said extension is the exact same colour as the part of Yiyi’s wing that it is connected to, making it a good idea that has been poorly executed.
While Yiyi’s paint applications are flawed, nothing bad can be said about his sculpting. His head and body have a fuzzy coat of feathers and the four large feathers on his tail are nicely detailed. His wings have a wrinkled, leathery texture similar to a bat’s. Their outspread pose allow for a perfect view of the different-sized fingers and the styliform elements. Small as Yiyi may be, he has no difficulty standing out amongst the other feathered dinosaurs on my shelf!
Yiyi the Yi probably isn’t the best miniature PNSO has produced, but I would say that he’s definitely one of the most unique. I’ve been dying for a figure of this genus ever since it was first revealed back in 2015, so truth be told, I’m perfectly willing to forgive Yiyi’s paint flaws on account of how pleased I am to finally own a Yi. Hopefully, this won’t be the last one to be made (again, please take note, CollectA and Safari!). In the mean time, if you too are fond of strange and unusual and beautiful species of dinosaur, then I reckon Yiyi is worth the purchase.
Support the Dinosaur Toy Blog by making dino-purchases through these links to Ebay and Amazon. Disclaimer: links to Ebay.com and Amazon.com on the The Dinosaur Toy Blog are often affiliate links, when you make purchases through these links we may make a commission