The transitional fossil link between dinosaurs and modern birds
History of discovery: The „Berlin specimen“ of Archaeopteryx was discovered between 1874 and 1876 near Eichstätt in Germany. The original finder sold it for the value of a cow (approx. 150 Mark) to a quarry owner, who sold it for 2000 Mark to E.O. Häberlein, who placed it internationally on sale for 20 000 Goldmark. This high price exceeded the financial abilities of several interested museums. In 1879 Werner von Siemens (shown here) financed the transaction, placing the specimen with the Humboldt Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin. After 2 years, the museums could pay the money back and has been the owner ever since. Described in 1884 by Wilhelm Dames, with its excellent preservation of feathers and skull it is considered the most complete and beautiful specimen of Archaeopteryx.
Images: Carola Radke, Hwa Ja Götz, Graphical design "Federflug": Nils Hoff (Museum für Naturkunde Berlin)
Text: Gregor Hagedorn, Alice Chodura (Museum für Naturkunde Berlin)
Curators and scientific consultation: Dr. Daniela Schwarz, Dr. Sylke Frahnert (Museum für Naturkunde Berlin)