Dinosauria Online


[ Archaeopteryx | Archaeopteryx Fosil ]

ARCHAEOPTERYX (ahr-kee-OP-ter-ix) "Ancient Wing" (Greek archaio- = ancient + pteryx = wing, because it was an ancient bird)

Not a dinosaur, but a crow-sized Jurassic bird - until 1986 the oldest bird known. Although more recent than PROTOAVIS, it is more primitive. Many scientists once believed Archaeopteryx looked very much like a tiny dinosaur with feathers and wings. It probably could fly, but not far. Three clawed fingers extended from the front of each wing. The tail was long and bony, and the jaws were lined with teeth. Archaeopteryx probably ate insects. Its FOSSILS have been found in west Germany. These fossils were formed in fine - grained limestone; they clearly show the impressions of the long feathers on the wings and tail. The first Archaeopteryx specimen ever found is owned by the Natural History Museum in London. It is considered the most valuable fossil in the world.