Archaeopteryx - the first bird - was discovered in 1861, just 2 years after the publication of Charles Darwin's "The Origin of Species", providing an example of the "missing links" Darwin inferred in his book, in this case between reptiles and birds.
Eight skeletons and a single feather impression are known, all collected from the Late Jurassic Solnhofen limestones of Bavaria.
Archaeopteryx possesses a unique mix of reptilian and avian characteristics (see table below).
|Long, bony tail||Symmetric feathers|
|Hand with 3 separate, clawed digits||Furcula (wishbone)|
Author: Robert Davis
Last updated: 21/11/05
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