Archaeopteryx: The Link Between Birds and Dinosaurs
by Malaya Lawson, age 10
The fossil remains of Archaeopteryx were such an important discovery due to the species' having features of both reptile-like dinosaurs and birds. This is fascinating since it could mean the Archaeopteryxwas on an evolutionary pathway between two species. In other words, the Archaeopteryxwas a creature that best shows the transition of reptile creatures evolving to birds.
The Archaeopteryxwas small in size, it was about as big as a modern-day crow. Similar to any other bird, it was also covered in feathers. This bird-like creature could also take flight, but it's believed that it only flew in small bursts. Since the creature didn’t have a big sternum or strong muscles it wasn’t able to fly for too long in the air.
This bird could have been found in what is now known as Germany during the late Jurassic period. The Archaeopteryxfossils are now located in museums in Berlin, Germany, and the United Kingdom. What's interesting about the Archaeopteryxis that it was alive 150 million years ago. Researchers know this because the fossils have well-preserved wings, feathers, and flat sternum. Not only that, but it also had teeth and a bony tail. The fossil’s uniqueness makes it one of the most important fossils to be discovered.
[Source: University of California Museum of Paleontology]