The wings of Archaeopteryx just made the news again in a big way with the publication of a paper in Current Biology. It is – bah! – sadly not freely available here. The authors show that the wings of feathered dinos were structured fundamentally differently from those of modern birds, with several layers of feathers instead of just one forming the airfoil. That may have given greater stability than the weak feather shafts suggest, but made the airfoil less capable. Go read the paper!
But before you do, let’s take a good look at the original first Archaeopteryx specimen:
Yes, that was the first ever find – and don’t get me started on the validity of the assumption that this feather came from the same species as the body fossils….
And this fossil makes the MfN the only museum – to my knowledge – that holds TWO specimens of Archaeopteryx.
hmmph… it asks me for 35 bucks.
Weird – must have remembered my institutional access then. Bleh!
Yeah, it wants my moneys.
Also: well, obviously we know that feather was from Archaeopteryx because that was the only feathered animal around in the Late Jurassic! Sincerely, the 1970s.
If I may be so bold to suggest that the MfN really has only one specimen of Archaeopteryx, plus a feather of indeterminate genus
bah – nitpicker! 😉
who said you could use your brain, hu?
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I’d give my left testicle to get to collect at Solnhofen even just for the non-vertebrate fossils. That level of preservation is so far above anything we get here in Indiana. There’s a collecting spot called the “64/37 road cut” (because it’s at the intersection of Interstate 64 and Highway 37…not quite as romantic as “The Flaming Cliffs”…) that comes close to it but it’s a primarily Upper Mississippian marine deposit. However, it’s interesting simply because the rock is fine-grained enough that you can sometimes see the feeding structures of corals, bryzoans, etc without any prep work. Not as exciting as vertebrate stuff but when you grow up in an area dominating by much older marine deposits you learn to enjoy what you have access to.