After Archaeopteryx was discovered in 1861, impressions of feathers were seen on the smooth limestone in which it was found. But until those feather impressions were noticed, that fossil was thought to be Compsognathus, a little dinosaur. Archaeopteryx was a bird, though a very primitive one with much in common with raptor dinosaurs. Like those dinosaurs, Archaeopteryx had sharp teeth, three fingers with claws, and a long, bony tail. Very few birds today have any of those features. Archaeopteryx is considered the closest link we have yet found between dinosaurs and birds.

Text by "Dino" Don Lessem