Characters of Archaeopteryx
Archaeopteryx was a primitive bird consisting of feathers. It is a genus of bird-like- dinosaurs. Archaeopteryx was accepted by paleontologists as the oldest known bird (member of group Avialae).
Archaeopteryx is considered a transitional fossil between dinosaurs and modern birds. Its German name is “Urogel”.
Scientific position of Archaeopteryx:
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Clade: Dinosauria
- Order: Saurischia
- Suborder: Theropoda
- Clade: Avialae
- Family: Archaeopterygidae
- Genus: Archaeopteryx
Habitat of Archaeopteryx:
They lived in the Late Jurassic around 150 million years ago, on that time Europe (Now southern Germany) was an archipelago of islands in a shallow warm sea, which is now closer to the equator.
General characters of Archaeopteryx
The general characteristics features of archaeopteryx are as follows:
- Archaeopteryx consists jaw with a full set of sharp teeth.
- They had a flat sternum (breastbones), a long bony tail, and gastralia (belly ribs).
- Archaeopteryx possessed three fingers with claws
- Hyperextensible second toe (killing toe)
- The feathers, wings, furcular and reduced fingers are all characteristics of modern birds.
- The largest species of Archaeopteryx could grow about 0.5m.
- As they had wings but it is not clear whether Archaeopteryx was capable of flapping flight or simply a glider.
- Despite the presence of numerous avian features, Archaeopteryx had many non-avian Theropod dinosaur characteristics. Unlike modern birds, Archaeopteryx had small teeth as well as long bony tails, features which Archaeopteryx shared with other dinosaurs of the time.
- Because the Archaeopteryx had common features of both birds and non-avian dinosaurs, it has often been considered a link between them.
Phylogenetic position of Archaeopteryx:
Modern paleontology has often classified Archaeopteryx as the most primitive bird. It is not thought to be a true ancestor of modern birds, but rather, a close relative of that ancestor.
Important facts about Archaeopteryx:
- They have also known by the German name ‘Urvogel’
- The Archaeopteryx is considered a transitional fossil between dinosaurs and modern birds.
- The initial discovery, a single feather, in 1860 or 1861, and described in 1861 by Hermann von Meyer.
- The first skeleton, known as the London specimen was unearthed in 1861 near Langenaltheim, Germany.
- Specimens of Archaeopteryx were most notable for their well-developed, asymmetrical flight features.
- The tail feathers were less asymmetrical
- The thumb did not yet bear a separately movable tuft of stiff feathers.
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