Archaeopteryx Facts for Kids

A Picture of Archaeopteryx Lithographica
  • Species Type: Archaeopteryx lithographica
  • Type of Dinosaur: Theropoda (Avialae)
  • Period: Late Jurassic
  • Diet: Meat (carnivorous)
  • Life Span: Unknown
  • Length: Up to 1 foot and 8 inches
  • Weight: Up to 2.2 pounds

17 Archaeopteryx Facts for Kids

  1. The Archaeopteryx was discovered between 1860 and 1861 by Hermann von Meyer in Solnhofen, Germany.
  2. The first discovery of the Archaeopteryx was just a fossilized feather.
  3. The first discovery of a fossilized skeleton of the Archaeopteryx was in 1861, and it is known as the London Specimen (BMNH 37001).
  4. The Archaeopteryx got its scientific name Archaeopteryx lithographica in 1861 from Hermann von Meyer.
  5. The name Archaeopteryx means: “Ancient Feather or Wing”.
  6. The name Archaeopteryx is pronounced: “ar-kee-OP-ter-ix”.
  7. The Archaeopteryx was part of a suborder of dinosaurs known as Theropods.
  8. They lived in the Late Jurassic Period around 150 million years ago.
  9. Estimates put the length of an Archaeopteryx up to 1.8 feet.
  10. Estimates put the weight of an Archaeopteryx up to 2.2 pounds.
  11. The brain cavity of the Archaeopteryx was considerably larger when compared to other dinosaurs of similar size.
  12. Paleontologists believe up to one-third of the Archaeopteryx’s brain was used to control its vision.
  13. The Archaeopteryx was a carnivore and most likely ate smaller reptiles, mammals, insects and potentially fish.
  14. The Archaeopteryx is considered by paleontologists to be a transitional species between non-avian feathered dinosaurs and modern-day birds.
  15. The discovery of the Archaeopteryx was only two years after Charles Darwin published his theory of evolution. The discovery of the Archaeopteryx helped build support for Darwin’s evolution theory.
  16. Paleontologists have discovered only 12 fossil specimens of the Archaeopteryx, and all of them were found in limestone deposits near Solnhofen, Germany.
  17. Paleontologists believe the Archaeopteryx was able to fly, but it would be distinctly different then the flight of modern-day birds.

Additional Resources on Archaeopteryx