The Archaeopteryx Feather: first trace of the primeval bird

Hwa Ja Götz (MfN)

Museum für Naturkunde Berlin

Museum für Naturkunde Berlin

On August 15th 1861, Hermann von Meyer gave a first account of a fossil feather find in the Solnhofen limestone. He later named it Archaeopteryx lithographica. The discovery was a sensation – a bird’s feather 150 million years old. When the skeleton was subsequently found it became clear that the fossil was far more than just a feather: it heralded a revolution in science.

Up to this day, it has remained the only and the oldest single feather from the Jurassic period. Even the finest barbules are clearly visible, making it a unique study object. To celebrate the 150th anniversary of its find, the original Archaeopteryx feather was on public display for the first time during the "Feathered Flight" exhibition in 2011-2012.

More about this famous dinosaur at the Museum für Naturkunde: Archaeopteryx lithographica – The Berlin specimen – The transitional fossil link between dinosaurs and modern birds.

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  • Title: The Archaeopteryx Feather: first trace of the primeval bird
  • Creator: Hwa Ja Götz (MfN)
  • Location Stored: Museum für Naturkunde Berlin
  • Location: Museum für Naturkunde, Invalidenstraße 43, 10115 Berlin
  • Rights: © Museum für Naturkunde. All rights reserved.