archaeopteryx


ar·chae·op·ter·yx

noun \ˌär-kē-ˈäp-tə-riks\

Definition of ARCHAEOPTERYX

:  a primitive crow-sized bird (genus Archaeopteryx) of the Upper Jurassic period of Europe having reptilian characteristics (as teeth and a long bony tail)

Origin of ARCHAEOPTERYX

New Latin, from archae- + Greek pteryx wing; akin to Greek pteron wing — more at feather
First Known Use: 1859

archaeopteryx

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Oldest known fossil animal that is generally accepted as a bird (classified as genus Archaeopteryx). It flourished during the Late Jurassic period (159–144 million years ago). Fossil specimens indicate that archaeopteryx ranged in size from as small as a blue jay to as large as a chicken. Archaeopteryx shared anatomical characteristics with both birds (well-developed wings and birdlike skull) and theropod dinosaurs (well-developed teeth and a long tail).

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