Flying Organisms

This is the section everybody has been waiting for, the world famous Archaeopteryx. Only six specimens and one feather have been found to date. This proto bird (half dinosaur and half bird) is one of the marvels of the fossil world. It is considered the missing link of birds in some respects, since it contains characteristics of both birds and dinosaurs. It contains feathers like a bird but no breast bone which is common to all birds. Each of the specimens contain distinct differences in size and physical characteristics.

To learn more about the evolution of flight return to the HVPM after this tour and click on the evolution of flight.
This is a cast of the first Archaeopteryx, Archaeopteryx lithograhica Meyer, that was ever found, and was probably the best there was before being lost during the Second World War.
Click on the image to return to the Fossils Page.
The only single feather found of the Archaeopteryx (modified from Barthel et al. 1990.
The Archaeopteryx may have fed on insects and other small creatures that lived in the lagoon of that time. It also may have fed on small fish that lived near to the surface of the water of the lagoon. If the Archaeoppteryx got caught in the water and drowned that may explain the exquisite detail of this specimen. This picture shows the Archaeopteryx eatting lunch in a tree near the lagoon (modified from Page et al., 1989).