Archaeopteryx takes to the Stage
The discovery of the earliest true bird known to science, Archaeopteryx is perhaps one of the most important developments in palaeontology. Most scientists believe that birds evolved from small Theropod dinosaurs and the few fossils found of this late Jurassic creature provide evidence of the link between dinosaurs and birds. With the famous “London” Archaeopteryx fossil being found in 1861, scientists had an example of an animal that seemed to be a transitional link between reptiles and birds; a sort of “missing link” in evolution. The timing of the find of a nearly complete fossil skeleton of this ancient bird could not have been better, as just two years earlier Darwin had published “The Origin of Species” and this fossil seemed to provide evidence for his theories.
The “London” fossil is so called as it was purchased by Sir Richard Owen and eventually it was put on display at what was to become the Natural History museum. The price paid for this small piece of lithographic limestone, less than one square metre in size was £600.00 a huge sum of money in those days.
The remains of Archaeopteryx are one of the most important examples of Mesozoic life preserved in the fossil record, only a total of 9 actual fossils have been ascribed to this species but those fossils that we do possess have enabled scientists to examine a link in the evolution of dinosaurs into birds.
A Model of Archaeopteryx
Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur
To see dinosaur models: Dinosaur Toys – Dinosaur Models
Such an important fossil has never been far from the limelight in all the time this bird has been known to science and recently an unusual enquiry reminded staff at Everything Dinosaur, just how significant these discoveries were.
We were contacted this week by a theatre company who wanted to purchase an Archaeopteryx model to feature in a stage play. Models of Archaeopteryx are rare, but fortunately not as rare as the actual fossils and we were able to help out.
Shortly, Archaeopteryx will make their stage debut, this ancient bird is in the spotlight once again.