Sunday, May 30, 2010


Silly me. I thought there was only one archaeopteryx fossil, but there are 11! Archaeopteryx is the earliest known bird, dating back to the Late Jurassic Period, 150-145 million years ago. Archaeopteryx had feathers, sharp teeth, a long bony tail, and a "killing claw." Its fossilized remains represent the transition from dinosaurs to birds, and the first complete specimen became a key piece of evidence in the debate about evolution, the discovery having been announced in 1861 - just 2 years after Charles Darwin (1809-1882) published The Origin of Species. All of the fossils of these proto-birds have been found in limestone deposits in Germany. The specimens are listed below in the order of their discovery and with their current location indicated:
  • Initial discovery, 1860, Germany
  • London Specimen, 1861, England (replica, 4th image)
  • Berlin Specimen, 1876/7, Germany(1st image)
  • Haarlem Specimen, 1855, The Netherlands
  • Eichstatt Specimen, 1951/5, Germany (4th image)
  • Maxberg Specimen, 1956/8, missing
  • Solnhofen Specimen, 1960s, Germany
  • Daiting Specimen, 1980s, private collection
  • Munich Specimen, 1991, Germany (2nd image)
  • Burgermeister-Muller Specimen, 2000, private collection
  • Thermopolis Specimen, 2000s, private collection (3rd image)

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