Archaeopteryx Skull Replica measures 2.0 in. & Archaeopteryx Skull Plaque are both museum quality polyurethane resin castings. Made in USA.
Archaeopteryx, sometimes referred to by its German name, Urvogel is a genus of avian dinosaurs. Between the late 19th century and the early 21st century, Archaeopteryx was generally accepted by palaeontologists and popular reference books as the oldest known bird. Older potential avialans have since been identified, including Anchiornis, Xiaotingia, and Aurornis.
Most of the specimens of Archaeopteryx that have been discovered came from the Solnhofen limestone in Bavaria, southern Germany, which is a Lagerstätte, a rare and remarkable geological formation known for its superbly detailed fossils laid down during the early Tithonian stage of the Jurassic period, approximately 150.8–148.5 million years ago.
Archaeopteryx was roughly the size of a raven, with broad wings that were rounded at the ends and a long tail compared to its body length. It could reach up to 1 ft 8 in. in body length and 2 ft 4 in. in wingspan, with an estimated mass of 1.1 to 2.2 lb.
Archaeopteryx feathers, although less documented than its other features, were very similar in structure to modern-day bird feathers. Despite the presence of numerous avian features, Archaeopteryx had many non-avian theropod dinosaur characteristics.
Unlike modern birds, Archaeopteryx had small teeth, as well as a long bony tail, features which Archaeopteryx shared with other dinosaurs of the time.
Because it displays features common to both birds and non-avian dinosaurs, Archaeopteryx has often been considered a link between them. In the 1970s, John Ostrom, following Thomas Henry Huxley’s lead in 1868, argued that birds evolved within theropod dinosaurs and Archaeopteryx was a critical piece of evidence for this argument.
It had several avian features, such as a wishbone, flight feathers, wings, and a partially reversed first toe along with dinosaur and theropod features. It had a long ascending process of the ankle bone, interdental plates, an obturator process of the ischium, and long chevrons in the tail.
Archaeopteryx had three separate digits on each fore-leg each ending with a claw. Few birds have such features. Some birds, such as ducks and swans have them concealed beneath their leg-feathers.
Specimens of Archaeopteryx were most notable for their well-developed flight feathers. They were markedly asymmetrical and showed the structure of flight feathers in modern birds, with vanes given stability by a barb-barbule-barbicel arrangement.
The tail feathers were less asymmetrical, again in line with the situation in modern birds and also had firm vanes. The thumb did not yet bear a separately movable tuft of stiff feathers.
The body plumage of Archaeopteryx is less well-documented and has only been properly researched in the well-preserved Berlin specimen. In the Berlin specimen, there are “trousers” of well-developed feathers on the legs; some of these feathers seem to have a basic contour feather structure. They are firm and thus capable of supporting flight.
A patch of pennaceous feathers is found running along its back, which was quite similar to the contour feathers of the body plumage of modern birds in being symmetrical and firm, although not as stiff as the flight-related feathers.