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archaeopteryx Line breaks: archae|op¦teryx
Pronunciation: /ˌɑːkɪˈɒptərɪks/

Definition of archaeopteryx in English:


The oldest known fossil bird, of the late Jurassic period. It had feathers, wings, and hollow bones like a bird, but teeth, a bony tail, and legs like a small coelurosaur dinosaur.
  • Archaeopteryx lithographica, subclass Archaeornithes
Example sentences
  • An archaeopteryx, feathers and all, spreads its wings as you open one page; a lumbering ankylosaur rises from the folds of another, its spiny tail raised threateningly.
  • The findings could finally end a debate that has raged ever since the first archaeopteryx fossil was discovered in a German limestone quarry two years after Charles Darwin published his On the Origin of Species in 1859.
  • One would expect birds older than archaeopteryx to be much more reptile-like, but they are much like modern birds.


From archaeo- 'ancient' + Greek pterux 'wing'.

Definition of archaeopteryx in:
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