London specimen of Archaeopteryx (photographed with permission from the Natural History Museum) Animals Paleontology 

Piecing Together the Archaeopteryx Puzzle

By Steven Spence Bird, Dinosaur, or Both? The 1861 discovery of Archaeopteryx made it one of the most important fossils ever found. Coming just two years after Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, the finding caused a sensation. It had teeth and a bony tail like a lizard, and feathers like a bird. Archaeopteryx was assumed to be a transitional form between non-avian dinosaurs and modern birds, thus supporting Darwin’s theory of evolution, although this assumption was controversial and by no means immediately accepted. In the 150-plus years following the…

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