Fossil of Archaeopterix

Fossil of Archaeopterix

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Credit: JIM AMOS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Fossil skelteon of a bird-like reptile of the genus Archaeopterix. This creature had many bird- like features, including feathers. The bones, however, are reptilian in that they have no air pockets. If Archaeopterix was capable of flight, it would probably have been limited to short glides. The sternum (breast bone) does not have a carinate 'keel' like normal birds, to which the powerful flight muscles need to be anchored. Three digits of its hands, like its toes, were fitted with claws, suggesting that Archaeopterix preferred to climb. The feathers may have primarily been used for warmth.

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Keywords: ancestor, animal, animals, archaeopterix, archaeopteryx, bird, fossil, fossil bird, fossil vertebrate, fossils, palaeontology, paleontology, vertebrates

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