Monday, January 31, 2011

Archaeopteryx is considered to be one of the most important fossils ever discovered in the world of paleontology. The skeleton is essentially that of a theropod dinosaur, and possesses teeth, a long bony tail, abdominal ribs and three digits on each hand - characters absent in birds.

However, the specimens also show certain bird characteristics such as a furcula (wishbone) and a retroverted pubis (characteristics also shared with some dinosaurs) and an opposable hallux (big toe) for perching. The most spectacular feature is the distinct impression of feathers around the forelimbs and tail. These feathers are almost exactly like those of modern birds.

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