Many people consider Archaeopteryx as an early bird. To define its meaning, it’s worth understanding that paleontology helps people to find out more about the unique and incredible evolutionary history of birds, including Archaeopteryx. Its significant and still ongoing discovery is marked by well preserved and rare fossils found in southern Germany. Basically, Archaeopteryx is the first bird that is more than 150 million years old.
Scientists claim that it’s a certain intermediate between modern birds and predatory dinosaurs, including Deinonychus. One of its skeletons that was poorly preserved was described as a skeleton of a little bipedal dinosaur known as Composognathus. Modern people have 7 known specimens of this early bird. Archaeopteryx is a fossil of the bird that existed during the Jurassic Period, and it’s considered by people to be an important missing link between modern birds and dinosaurs.
Its full name is Archaeopteryx lithographica, which translates as an ancient wing from a printing stone, and it was originated from the limestone where it was first discovered. People used limestone for printing in the past because it’s quite smooth. The first fossil of Archaeopteryx was found in 1860, and it started the further exploration and research of this early bird. It’s accepted that it’s a special transitional form between reptiles and birds and that Archaeopteryx is the earliest bird in the world.
Scientists also claim that it has more resemblance to ancestors than to modern birds, thus offering quite a strong phylogenetic link between these groups. That’s why Archaeopteryx is one of the most important fossils ever discovered by people. Unlike living birds, it has a full set of teeth, a flat breastbone, a bony and long tail, and 3 claws on a wing that can be used to grasp trees. However, its wings, wishbone, reduced fingers, and feathers are basic characteristics of modern birds.
There is an ongoing debate whether Archaeopteryx used feathers for flight or to regulate a body temperature. Originally, they evolved for insulation and were co-opted into flight. Another debate is focused on the origin of flight and its actual flight abilities. There are 2 flight evolution models proposed by scientists, including trees-down and ground-up versions.
Many people consider Archaeopteryx as an early bird. To define its meaning, it’s worth understanding that paleontology helps people to find out more about the unique and incredible evolutionary history of birds, including Archaeopteryx. Its significant and still ongoing discovery is marked by well preserved and rare fossils found in southern Germany.