The Archaeopteryx was a dinosaur that contains characteristics close to that of a modern-day bird and lived during the Upper Jurassic Period about 150 million years ago. This genus belonged to a family called the Archaeopterygidae, along with other dinosaurs like the Wellnhoferia.
|What does Archaeopteryx mean?||The Greek words that Archaeopteryx was derived from are archaīos, which means “ancient,” and ptéryx, which means “feather” or “wing.” The name was given as the first remains found was a fossilized feather.|
|On the menu||Carnivore|
|Length||0.5m (1′ 8″)|
|Height||0.5m (1′ 8″) from head to tail.|
|Life expectancy||Not much is known about how long can the Archaeopteryx be expected to have lived.|
|Legs used to get around||Being considered the first transition from non-avian dinosaurs to birds, the Archaeopteryx was bipedal|
|Estimated top speed||The estimated top speed was 4.4 mp/h or 7.2 km/h.|
|When they lived||This genus lived during the early Tithonian stage in the Upper Jurassic Period about 150 million years ago.|
|Where they have been found?||Southern Germany.|
When & Where
The fossils of the Archaeopteryx were found in 1861 at the Jurassic Solnhofen Limestone Formation in Bavaria, Germany. The discovered fossils only consisted of a feather, with its head and neck mostly missing.
Size & Weight
Not much is known of the size and weight of the Archaeopteryx and scientists believed that the dinosaur was the same size as the common raven.
Mobility & Diet
They are believed to have been carnivorous and may have eaten smaller reptiles, amphibians, mammals, and insects during the Upper Jurassic Period. Its claws helped them catch larger prey.
- First found between 1860 and 1861 by Hermann von Meyer in Solnhofen, Germany, and Meyer gave the name Archaeopteryx litographica as well.
- The first discovery was just a fossilized feather.
- The name means: “Ancient Feather or Wing”.
- Paleontologists have only discovered 12 other fossil specimens of Archaeopteryx.
- As a form of payment, the fossils that were discovered were then gifted to a doctor, who sold them to the London Natural History Museum. When the specimen was given, it coincided with Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species”, and helped confirm the theory.