Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 


Many theropod-like features can be seen in the bird-like fossil Archaeopteryx - it had a long, very thin tail with a set of vertebrae that anchored the tail feathers on either side. The pubis pointed backward and downwards; the furcula at the front of the chest is boomerang-like; there are small teeth in the jaws, and the horny beak of birds is totally lacking; the long arms are jointed so that they can be extended and folded in the same fashion as theropods, and as with theropods, there are 3 sharply clawed fingers on the hands that are identical to those of the maniraptoran theropods.

In the fossils there are the impressions of flight feathers that have been preserved in exquisite detail. The feathers were attached to the wings and along the sides of the tail, as a result of which it has been defined as a bird, though the author1 suggests that if the feather impressions had not been preserved it would probably have been described as an unusually small dromaeosaurian theropod.


Sources & Further reading

  1. Norman, David, 2005, Dinosaurs: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press


Author: M. H. Monroe
Last updated 05/01/2012

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