Archaeopteryx lithografica

In the year 1860, on the plateau above the Altmühl Valley, near Solnhofen, Bavaria, Germany, quarrymen found a slab of stone with the petrified imprint of a FEATHER. Natural Science stood bevore a puzzle......

Decades and decades of years in the past, hundreds of various types of fossils, such as crabs, insects, fish, flying saurians etc. had been found in the ( Malmzetta ) Jurassic, lithographic lime stone. This part of the Jura is considered to contain a greater number and variety of Cretaceous fossils than elsewhere in the world.

At Solnhofen in 1861 ..... later in 1877, the rock of the Franconian Alb at Blumenberg near Eichstätt brought forth the answer to the mystery. In a depth of some 50 feet ( 20 meters ), quarried limestone was discovered with crow-sized fossilizations. In each instance the fossils have wings. At the end of these flying arms are three digits, distinctly clawed. The skull´s jaws have well developed teeth, characteristically reptilian. Both skeletons show a rich covering of feathers, also extending down the long lizard like tail.

The Archaeopteryx lithographica was named by Scientist and Researcher, Hermann v. Meyer in 1861.

Its discovery gave proof that birds are desceadants of reptiles. The archeopteryx being an intermediary stage of the evolutionary processes from the reptile.

The seemingly insignificant FEATHER from Solnhofen........

Later, the two discoveries of the birds prove that the archeopteryx lived in late Jurassic and Cretaceous times, which was also the era of saurians. During this period, bird slowly evolved from the reptil.

Original: Museum of Natural History, Humboldt-University, Berlin, Germany

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