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General Information of Archaeopteryx By Samson Ho

Archaeopteryx hunts lions, fox or tiger etc

Archaeopteryx is the earliest bird known. This name is fromAncient Greek meaning “ancient”, “feather” and “wing”. Archaeopteryx is fromthe Late Jurassic Period about one hundred and fifty million year ago. It isbelieved that Archaeopteryx is the ancestor of all bird which might be theancestor of geese.

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Aves

Order: Archaeopterygiformes

Family: Archaeopterygidae

Genus: Archaeopteryx



Archaeopteryx lived150 million years ago in southern Germany. Archaeopteryx lived on the low lyingislands around the bay, when they extinct, they were preserved very well in theanoxic waters. These islands were semi arid regions with very long dry seasonsand very little rain. Archaeopteryxes were carnivorous birds that eat animalsand insects.


Structural Adaptation 1 (Wings)

The feathers of Archaeopteryx wereasymmetrical and the feathers of the tail were broad. This suggests that thetail and the wings were used for lift generation. Archaeopteryx doesn’t have abony breastbone which implies that Archaeopteryx was not very strong at flying.The sideways orientation of the shoulder joint between humerus, scapula andcoracoid implies that Archaeopteryx cannot lift its wing above their back,which it is a requirement for the upstroke in the modern flapping flight. Theselection pressure that caused this was it makes escaping from predator mucheasier.

Structural Adaptation 2 (Feathers)

Archaeopteryx was the first animalto have fully developed feathers which were designed for flying with wings.These feathers is similar with the feathers of modern days’ birds. There werefeathers found on the neck and on the tail of the animal. This is hugedifferent from the dinosaurs that it had evolved from. Archaeopteryx bodyweight was lighter than what it has evolved from, which is the necessarycomponent of flight. The selection pressure that contribute to this might bethat flight may have been use to escape from predators that cannot fly.

Behavioural Adaptation 1 (Danger)

Archaeopteryx react the same with geese, when it sensesdanger, they will spread their wings and honk loudly for warning the enemies,they will stomp toward the direction of safety, herding the rest of the groupin front of them. This is how humans control ducks, with arms outspread like aset of wing. The smaller birds and the geese all respect that gesture. Theselection pressure that caused this was it scares off the predator and muchbetter chance to survive.

Behavioural Adaptation 2 (Hunting)

Archaeopteryx was a generalistfeeder, it is able to hunt down animals, small lizards and insects near thecoastline, open ground, picking insects off shrubs and trees and sometimes evenhunting down the small dinosaurs in the bushes. Archaeopteryx have long legsfor running, claws attached to wings for catching prey and claws attached tothe legs for climbing trees. The selection pressure that caused this was that Archaeopteryxhas a better chance to survive in varied environments.

Physiological Adaptation (Brain)

Archaeopteryx developed an enlargedbrain to fulfill the need to fly. Archaeopteryx brain was much bigger than thedinosaurs of the same time. It is enough to possess the necessary brain sizefor flight. A third of the brain is the visionary region, the rest is dedicatedto hearing and muscle coordination. The selection pressure that contribute tothis was the fact that Archaeopteryx have to maneuverer in three dimensionswhich means the brain need to be large enough to process more things.Untitled4.png

Selection Pressure

There is no clear reason why the Archaeopteryx become extinct, Somearcheologist said that Archaeopteryx didn’t die out. Due to the pressure ofweather, climate and environment, Archaeopteryx have evolved into manydifferent species of birds so that the original form of Archaeopteryx doesn’texist anymore.

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menton, david.(2010, July). Evolution. Retrieved from