Missing link

Archaeopteryx was the first feathered dinosaur to be found anywhere. Originally, palaeontologists suggested it could be a major link between dinosaurs and birds, but now some think that Archaeopteryx is a bit of a dead end in avian evolution. It has feathers and light bones like birds do, but it also has a flat breastbone and a long, bony tail, which birds don't have. However, Archaeopteryx is some kind of link between feathered and non-feathered creatures and, as such, is a highly prized specimen.

High flyer?

If you are lucky enough to spot Archaeopteryx, you might be able to answer a question that palaeontologists have been arguing about for years - can it fly? Some think it might be able to make extended hops by running and flapping its wings rather than actually taking flight, which might be useful when chasing flying insects. What seems certain is that its feathers are used as a form of insulation, as birds fluff up their feathers to keep out the cold.

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