- 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
- The Archaeopteryx was discovered between 1860 and 1861 by Hermann von Meyer in Solnhofen, Germany.
- The first discovery of the Archaeopteryx was just a fossilized feather.
- The first discovery of a fossilized skeleton of the Archaeopteryx was in 1861, and it is known as the London Specimen (BMNH 37001).
- The Archaeopteryx got its scientific name Archaeopteryx lithographica in 1861 from Hermann von Meyer.
- The name Archaeopteryx means: “Ancient Feather or Wing”.
- The name Archaeopteryx is pronounced: “ar-kee-OP-ter-ix”.
- The Archaeopteryx was part of a suborder of dinosaurs known as Theropods.
- They lived in the Late Jurassic Period around 150 million years ago.
- Estimates put the length of an Archaeopteryx up to 1.8 feet.
- Estimates put the weight of an Archaeopteryx up to 2.2 pounds.
- The brain cavity of the Archaeopteryx was considerably larger when compared to other dinosaurs of similar size.
- Paleontologists believe up to one-third of the Archaeopteryx’s brain was used to control its vision.
- The Archaeopteryx was a carnivore and most likely ate smaller reptiles, mammals, insects and potentially fish.
- The Archaeopteryx is considered by paleontologists to be a transitional species between non-avian feathered dinosaurs and modern-day birds.
- 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.
- Paleontologists have discovered only 12 fossil specimens of the Archaeopteryx, and all of them were found in limestone deposits near Solnhofen, Germany.
- Paleontologists believe the Archaeopteryx was able to fly, but it would be distinctly different then the flight of modern-day birds.
A photo of the Archaeopteryx exhibit at the Natural History Museum in LA.
Credit: Brian Switek
A photo of the oldest discovered Archaeopteryx specimens.
Credit: O. Rauhut, LMU
A diagram of the skeletal structure of the Archaeopteryx.
Additional Resources on Archaeopteryx
- Archaeopteryx – Britannica – Discover more Archaeopteryx facts for kids via Britannica.
- Archaeopteryx: The Transitional Fossil – Learn why paleontologists call the Archaeopteryx a transitional fossil.
- Archaeopteryx – Wikipedia – Find more facts about Archaeopteryx on Wikipedia.
- Archaeopteryx: An Early Bird – Read about the Archaeopteryx on the UCMP Berkeley website.