Archaeopteryx and its Feathers

Ryan Carney and his colleagues at Brown University released a scientific paper on the feathers of the Archaeopteryx today. Carney celebrated by having an Archaeopteryx feather tattooed on his arm, thereby gaining himself an entry in Carl Zimmer's science tattoo collection. But what about the Archaeopteryx?
The first fossil of Archaeopteryx was a single feather–the one that Carney has turned into a tattoo. It was discovered in 1861 in a limestone quarry near the town of Solnhofen and brought to Hermann von Meyer, one of Germany’s leading paleontologists at the time. As scientists would later determine, this exceptional feather was 145 million years old. Despite its antiquity, the feather looked much like the feathers on the wings of living birds.

The fossil was so extraordinary that Von Meyer wondered if some forger had etched it. After all, Solnhofen limestone was prized for making finely detailed lithographic prints. But then von Meyer compared the slab and the counterslab and found them to be identical.

Now 150 years later, we know a lot more about the Archaeopteryx and how it fits in the evolution of dinosaurs to birds. Read how many of these discoveries came about at The Loom. Link

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