Milner, Angela C. Department of Palaeontology, The Natural History Museum, London, United Kingdom.
Last reviewed:January 2021
- Fossil record
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
A genus of fossil birds in the extinct order Archaeopterygiformes, characterized by flight feathers like those of modern birds. Archaeopteryx is generally accepted as the oldest known fossil bird. It represents a unique snapshot of evolution; most of its skeletal characters are shared with small carnivorous dinosaurs, yet it has fully feathered modern wings. Archaeopteryx (see illustration) is effectively a flying dinosaur—an ancient bird about the size of a modern magpie. See also: Aves; Dinosauria; Extinction; Fossil
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