archaeopteryx


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Archaeopteryx

(är'kēŏp`tərĭks) [Gr.,=primitive wing], a 150 million-year-old fossil animal first discovered in 1860 in the late Jurassic limestone of Solnhofen, Bavaria, and described the following year. All eight known fossils of Archaeopteryx, discovered between 1860 and 1992, were found in a 516 sq-mi (1,336 sq-km) area of the Solnhofen quarries. First classified as a birdbird,
warm-blooded, egg-laying, vertebrate animal having its body covered with feathers and its forelimbs modified into wings, which are used by most birds for flight. Birds compose the class Aves (see Chordata). There are an estimated 9,000 living species.
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 because of the presence of feathers and the structure of the legs and wings, it nevertheless has many characteristics now found only in reptiles or in bird embryos. It was long regarded as the most primitive known bird, but more recent discoveries of fossils that have feathers and other birdlike features while also retaining strong dinosaurlike characteristics has led some to argue that Archaeopteryx is in fact a feathered dinosaurdinosaur
[Gr., = terrible lizard], extinct land reptile of the Mesozoic era. The dinosaurs, which were egg-laying animals, ranged in length from 2 1-2 ft (91 cm) to about 127 ft (39 m).
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 that should be grouped with the theropods. It is still debated whether Archaeopteryx, which was about the size of a pigeon or magpie, was arboreal or a swiftly running terrestrial animal and poor flyer. Its feathers appear to have been too weakly constructed to be useful for active flight, but a study of its wing bones found that they resemble those of birds that fly short distances or in short bursts. Some claimed that a fossil discovered in West Texas in 1983 and dubbed Protoavis represents a primitive bird that predated Archaeopteryx by some 75 million years, but many experts also have questioned whether Protoavis is in fact a bird or even an correctly reconstructed animal.

Bibliography

See L. M. Witmer, The Search for the Origin of Birds (1995); A. Feduccia, The Origin and Evolution of Birds (1996); S. Chatterjee, The Rise of Birds (1997); P. Shipman, Taking Flight: Archaeopteryx and the Evolution of Bird Flight (1998).

Archaeopteryx

[‚ärk·ē′äp·tə·riks]
(paleontology)
The earliest known bird; a genus of fossil birds in the order Archaeopterygiformes characterized by flight feathers like those of modern birds.

archaeopteryx

any of several extinct primitive birds constituting the genus Archaeopteryx, esp A. lithographica, which occurred in Jurassic times and had teeth, a long tail, well-developed wings, and a body covering of feathers
References in periodicals archive ?
But other paleontologists take a bit of an issue with that claim, saying that Archaeopteryx hasn't been really seriously considered a 'first bird' for some time.
In spite of all these new discoveries, Archaeopteryx is still considered by many as the earliest bird, but with the discovery of the feathered Anchiornis, which is about 10 million years older, Archaeopteryx is no longer the oldest feathered animal.
They point out that their robot is, of course, no Archaeopteryx, but add that their findings indicate that more interdisciplinary research is needed to develop an understanding of the abilities of early winged animals.
Outsiders Tranglarhad the owl and Kawaka the archaeopteryx hope to take advantage of this confusion.
2009: India--Hidden Treasures, Archaeopteryx Fossil Park, & Alpine Giants (Alpine VI)
With bold illustrations and a kid-friendly design, author-illustrator Lila Prap guides young readers toward an answer to that question in "Dinosaurs?!" Ultimately the answer is yes, explains Prap in a double-page spread about archaeopteryx, a half-bird, half-dinosaur "from which all modern-day birds evolved." The spread about archaeopteryx is the culmination, near the end of the book, of about a dozen spreads that depict a host of dinosaurs.
The museum has a fossil specimen of 195 million years old bird called Archaeopteryx. "This is one of the world's few places that have the specimen," said Dr Ksiksi.
Fortey shows how specimens can be re-examined and re-interpreted by successive generations of experts, yielding new insights each time, as for NHM's famous specimen of Archaeopteryx. Fortey concentrates on perhaps the Museum's main functions, taxonomy, the naming of names, and systematics, the often slow and painstaking elucidation of the characteristics of, and relationships between, organisms.
Consider Archaeopteryx, the famous 'intermediate form' between reptiles and birds.