Other names: Original bird
Latin name: Archeopteryx lithographica
class: Reptile / bird
size: approx. cm wingspan
mass: up to 500g
Appearance: Feather color so far uncleared
Sexual dimorphism: No
Nutrition type: Carnivore
food: Insects and smaller reptiles
original origin: unknown
Sleep-wake rhythm: probably diurnal
natural enemies: carnivorous dinosaurs
sexual maturity: unknown
mating season: unknown
breeding season: unknown
clutch size: unknown
social behavior: unknown
Threatened with extinction: extinct
Further profiles of animals can be found in the Encyclopaedia.
Interesting facts about Archeopteryx
- Archeopteryx lithographica describes an already extinct representative of the primitive birds, which colonized the earth about 150 million years ago, in the so-called Upper Jurassic.
- Its name comes from ancient Greek and means translated as "old feather" or "old swingarm".
- Archeopteryx reached a body size similar to that of a pigeon. His wingspan was probably about 50 centimeters. He reached a maximum weight of 500 grams.
- The first skeleton of Archeopteryx, which is still in the London Natural History Museum, was found in 1861. In the same year, this original bird was named for the first time.
- Archeopteryx was probably half reptile and half bird, which had plumage like modern birds. Today it is considered as a link between the dinosaurs and the birds.
- He originally developed his plumage as cold protection. However, scientists found that Archeopteryx was able to use its feathers in courtship and breeding as well, and to fluff it up to deter enemies.
- Investigations of the feathers showed that these had to be brown, black and reddish. The scientists, however, found no pigment residues that indicate bright colors such as blue, yellow or green.
- Unlike birds, Archeopteryx possessed a reptile-like jaw with teeth and wings, with three finger-tips at each end.
- To date, the researchers are not unanimous as it was ordered to the flying arts of Archeopteryx. Some theories suggest that he moved mainly on the ground by jumping fast and only occasionally took off into the air.
- The skeletal sites give little information about the habitat in which Archeopteryx was found. All areas where primitive bird remains were underwater during the Upper Jura period. It is therefore believed that their carcasses were washed by islands in lagoons of the then subtropical shelf sea, where they petrified.
- As a carnivore, Archeopteryx probably roamed mostly forested areas, hunting for insects and small reptiles.
- Also about his reproduction only guesses can be made. The development of the Federkleides suggests that unlike reptiles he operated brood care and protected the nest from the cold. He may also have developed his flying abilities to build nests in trees, protecting the offspring from attack. From the reptile snout, a pointed beak may have developed gradually to be able to provide the young with food.