July 5, 2022

Urvogel (scientific name: Archaeopteryx) is a genus of dinosaurs belonging to the paraves.


The word archeoptericus is derived from the ancient Greek words ἀρχαῖος (arkhaîos, "ancient") and πτέρυξ (ptérux, "wings", "birds"). Archeoptericus inhabits the Jurassic period, and its characteristic feathers strongly suggest the relationship between birds and (so-called) dinosaurs for the first time in the world. It is an important organism (currently denied. Details will be described later). All of the archeoptericus fossils produced were often attributed to the A. lithographica Meyer, 1861 species, but there is growing opinion that they should be divided into several species, as described below.

Fossil discovery site

The first fossils of Archeoptericus were discovered in 1860 in the Late Jurassic (Kimmeridgian, 146-141 million years ago) strata in the Solnhofen region of Bavaria, Germany. This area is famous for producing fossils of paleontology, and besides Archeoptericus, there are many fossil species found only in this area. The species name "lithographica" is derived from the fact that Solnhofen is a famous stone producing area used for lithographs (lithographs).


The size and outline of the archeoptericus is similar to that of a magpie, with wings lined up on the forefoot to form wide, curvilinear wings, and the hindfoot is densely populated with feathers at the base but lacks it in the middle or more. In addition, thin feathers grow on the whole body, and the body length is about 50 cm for a large specimen including a long tail, and the body length is about half of that. Some specimens are even smaller (right figure). These characteristics are similar to those of modern birds, except that they have jaws with sharp teeth, three fingers with claws, and long tail bones. In 1862, just two years after the publication of Darwin's On the Origin of Species, the complete fossil of Archeoptericus was described.


Eating habit

It is believed that this genus Archeoptericus was basically a generalist (a person who eats anything without choosing food). The prey is considered to be small animals such as insects, small reptiles and mammals, and they seem to have been caught by making full use of their wing-shaped forelimbs, elongated hind legs, and head with fine teeth. In Archeoptericus, the shape of the teeth differed slightly depending on the specimen. For example, the teeth of the Berlin specimen had a slightly crushed conical shape and the tip was curved. The teeth of the Eichstätt specimen, on the other hand, were delicate and sharp, and the entire dentition was neatly curved. Compsognathidae were among the small theropods with these fine teeth, and they also preyed on small animals. In addition, a wide variety of small animals have been found as prey from fossils of Anchiornis and Microraptor, which had four wings like this genus. Studies of the distal phalanx of the hind legs (toe bone) suggest that this species used the claws for tree life and predatory behavior.


Archeoptericus coexisted with numerous pterosaurs and the small theropod Compsognathus. In particular, the pterosaur has acquired high flight ability, and it was beyond the reach of this species in the open sea and sky in narrow forests. Since almost no trace of pollen was found in the stratum, the island (or coastal area) where this species is supposed to live.