Archaeopteryx

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Learn more about Archaeopteryx

Quick Facts
NameArchaeopteryx
Diet
Weight1 kg
Length0.5 meters
Height0.2 meters
Period
Archaeopteryx
Human

The Archaeopteryx was a small dinosaur and had the most famous fossils ever discovered. It lived about 159 million years ago during the Late Jurassic. It was discovered in 1860 in Germany, and from the first discovery, most commentators agreed to call it "the first bird". Archaeopteryx had distinctive reptilian features; it had wings and feathers, had a mouth with teeth, wishbone, claws on its hands, long tail, and could fly but was only capable of short upward flights, followed by gliding. Its curved killing claw on the second toe of each foot is ready for action.

The name Archaeopteryx means "ancient feather or wing". It had a larger brain compared to other dinosaurs of similar size. It was believed that 1/3 of its mind controlled its vision. These dinosaurs were carnivores and probably ate reptiles, mammals, insects and potentially smaller fish.

Archaeopteryx was about the size of a pigeon, measured only about 20 centimeters from head to tail, and weighed no more than two pounds.

What was Archaeopteryx and why is it important?

Archaeopteryx was the smallest dinosaur ever discovered. It lived about 159 million years ago during the Late Jurassic. Archaeopteryx had distinctive reptilian features; it had wings and feathers, had a mouth with teeth, wishbone, claws on its hands, long tail, and could fly but was only capable of short upward flights, followed by a glide. Its curved killer claw on the second toe of each foot is ready for action. For a long time it was seen as the first known bird.

The discovery of Archaeopteryx plays a vital role in the understanding of dinosaurs and the origin of birds. Darwin's theory predicted that the fossil record should be full of transitional forms, as one species gradually evolved into another. However, these missing links were, well, missing, and seemed to confirm this. Moreover, it becomes the key piece of evidence for the origins of birds.

Is Archaeopteryx a bird or a reptile?

Both! Archaeopteryx shares both the characteristics of reptilian dinosaurs and modern birds. The study of Archaeopteryx has never been straightforward, but most commentators believed it was more similar to small theropod dinosaurs than to modern birds.

What were the predators of Archaeopteryx?

The predators of Archaeopteryx are not specifically known, but it was discovered that the flight ability of these dinosaurs may have allowed them to escape predators.

What was Archaeopteryx like?

Archaeopteryx was a small dinosaur and a primitive feathered bird. It had wings and feathers, had a mouth with teeth, wishbone, claws on its hands, long tail, and could fly but was only capable of short upward flights, followed by gliding. Its curved killing claw on the second toe of each foot is ready for action. 

Do we believe that Archaeopteryx could fly?

Of course it was! Archaeopteryx was able to fly but in a short period.

What color was the Archaeopteryx?

Scientists found that the color of Archaeopteryx was probably glossy black with some white spots - think something like a magpie or a crow.

What did Archaeopteryx eat?

Archaeopteryx was carnivorous and probably ate reptiles, mammals, insects and potentially smaller fish.

What was the first bird on Earth?

Fossils show that Archaeopteryx was seen as the earliest known bird.

Why is Archaeopteryx called a missing link?

Archaeopteryx called missing link because it was the key piece of evidence to know more between dinosaurs and birds. 

Where did they live?

When did they live?

What was your diet?

Who discovered them?

What kind of dinosaurs are they?

What type of species are they?

geological time 3

Fun Facts

  • The name Archaeopteryx means "ancient feather or wing".
  • It was the most important fossil ever discovered as it was the missing link between dinosaurs and the origins of birds.
  • Archaeopteryx was about the size of a pigeon, it was capable of flight but in a short period of time.
  • It was carnivorous and insectivorous, and even ate fish.
  • The discovery of the Archaeopteryx helped support Darwin's theory of evolution.

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