Bird 1.0 – Secret about Archaeopteryx revealed
To which creature does the fossilized primordial feather, discovered more than 150 million years ago in a quarry in the Franconian Alb, belong? A group of researchers has now found the answer.
In 1860 researchers made a spectacular find in the Altmühltal valley in Bavaria. They found the imprint of a primeval feather in a quarry in the community of Solnhofen. The fossil originated from the Jurassic age and was thus around 150 million years old. At that time, the area around the site was still a subtropical island and lagoon landscape populated by early crocodile species, sharks and dinosaurs. It was soon suspected that the feather belonged to an Archaeopteryx, as several fossilized skeletons of this legendary animal were also found nearby. However, this has not been proven yet – this has now come to an end! The US American Ryan Carney from the University of Southern Florida, together with a group of scientists – including the German paleontologist Helmut Tischlinger – found out that the feather really does belong to an Archaeopteryx. This could be proved with the help of a special and ultra-modern electron microscope, with which the fossilized feather and skeletal fossils could be compared in detail. In the study published in the magazine “Scientific Reports” it can also be read that the feather was most probably from the upper plumage of the left wing. Even the original colour of the fossil could be determined, with ninety percent probability the Archaeopteryx feather was black.