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
- 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'.
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