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The Many Archaeopteryx by Qilong The Many Archaeopteryx by Qilong
Varied in form and function, Archaeopteryx stands out as the epitomy of dinobirds, the missing link that's not missing, and only of few species of animals known where every specimen can be recognized by where it's located. It even has a nickname, "Archie" but alas no companion named Jughead. Thank God.

From left to right, largest to smallest:

The Solnhofen Specimen, which has also been called Wellnhoferia grandis -- whose name means "the Large [bird] of Wellnhofer" after Dr. Peter Wellnhofer, who first described the skeleton -- is the largest Archie specimen, and is odd in having an unusual fourth toe.

The Haarlem, or Teylers, Specimen, which was at one point considered to be a pterosaur until 1970, 110 years after it was first found! It was known as Pterodactylus crassipes -- "rough-footed wing-finger" -- until someone noticed the feet were those of a bird, and there were even feathers. It is also the second largest specimen and the least completely preserved.

The Berlin Specimen, which is the holotype, was involved in the controversy surrounding the authenticity of the species, which some claimed was just a dinosaur without feathers, or that the skeleton was real but the feathers weren't, or again that the entire animal was a forgery, which has been extensively disproven.

The "Maxberg" Specimen, which is currently whereabouts unknown, may have been either sold by the private owner after it was taken out of display, stolen, or some other conspiracy related theory ;). The Maxberg, however, does have the oddest wings and legs of any of the Archies.

The Thermopolis Specimen, the newest specimen and the only one not currently residing somewhere in Europe (that we know of). So far, it is one of the best preserved specimens, and has the most detailed palate known to date. The ischium is unusual for all other Archies.

The London Specimen, which has the best preserved braincase of all Archies, is also one of the most studied, based on it's location and preeminence in the bird-origins debate following the publication of Darwin's On the Origin of the Species in 1859.

The München (that's Munich to all you Americans!) Specimen, which is the second smallest Archaeopteryx known and is so far the only recognized other species of Archaeopteryx.

The Eichstätt Specimen, a British researched named Howgate referred this specimen to a new species, Jurapteryx recurva -- "Jurapteryx," for the Jura Mountains of Germany and the Jurassic Period, plus "wing", and "recurva" which refers to the strongly curved foot claws, with relatively larger feet than other specimens -- but which appears to be the smallest A. lithographica known, and perhaps not fully grown.
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CommonHouseGecko Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2013
That's a very dynamic pose! You can almost hear the Thermopiles specimen yelling "THIS IS SPARTA!"
Qilong Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2013
The post was chosen as a way of making the typical "walk/run" poses usual by comparison. I wanted something new. You should check out my Majungasaurus skeletal: :thumb287986941:
RickRaptor105 Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2010
I thought Archaeopteryx had a sickle claw like raptors?
Qilong Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2010
The bones that support the claw of the second toe seem to have some
Qilong Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2010
Huh, the comment cu off....

The bones that support the second toe's claw have features such as an expanded articulation that implies a lot more movement of the bones than in a typical ground-dweller, only when the toe is bent upward or extended. In this case, however, unlike dromaeosaurs, the claw itself is no different from the other toe claws (not larger, not more curved, etc.). Similarly, the bones do not appear to have the ability to curve back down, or flex, before the claw, which occurs in dromaeosaurs. This suggests the toe is only able to extend upward in the middle, and that's it.
olofmoleman Featured By Owner May 17, 2007   Digital Artist
Holy sh!t, that's awesome. You're really good at reconstructions, but tell me, what do you use as referance? pics of the real fossils? other also other sources?
Qilong Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2007
No, photos and usually lots of them, with scale attached, are used to describe the detail of the bones. Each one with painstaking tables of measurements accompanying them.
olofmoleman Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2008   Digital Artist
You forgot to say that the Haarlem specimen is the oldest find of Archaeopteryx (even though it was only later that they realised it)

Btw, I'm also working on a reconstruction of the Haarlem specimen now.
davegodfrey Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2007
Great work, it's the first time I've seen any illustrative comparison of the individual specimens.

I have to take issue with the taxonomy. The holotype of Archaeopteryx lithographica is the single feather specimen. As this can't be identified to the same genera or species of "Archie" the London specimen has been designated the neotype. The Berlin Specimen was described in 1870, eight years after the London specimen. Buhler & Bock 2002, Journal Fur Ornithologie. v. 143, 3, p. 269.
Qilong Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2007
With respect to Bühler and Bock, I must disagree. While it is true that the feather was described first, when von Wagner mentioned his name, he did in fact refer to the skeleton as he did so. This allowed further workers to immediately regard the skeleton as A. lithographica, while they did so at the time for the feather as well. At this time, the concept of type fixation and holotype was not codified, and people were much more slapdash about it. When the Berlin specimen was described, then named as A. siemensii, and later as Archaeornis siemensii (but now just the former), the London specimen (not the feather) was considered the type specimen. In the 1950's, to avoid confusion over the fixation of specimens, curators at the British Museum appealed to the ICZN and won a fixation of the London specimen as the type. In 1980, a specimen named Pterodactylus crassipes was found in the Teylers Museum of Haarlem, Netherlands, which had apparently been named by von Wagner before A. lithographica, but applied as a specimen of that taxon; this animal had to have its name suppressed for the sake of preserving A. lithographica's position as type species.

So even had von Wagner intended the feather to be the type, the London specimen is fixed as the type by mandate and has largely been accepted as such since. Thus follows all other taxonomists's treatment of the specimens when they review A. lithographica or whatever.
aspidel Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2005  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks for sharing, Jaime, it's cool to have the comparison between all known Archie specimens.
Outlier Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2005
Great! Really useful having a visual guide like this to the specimens. I keep getting muddle headed about the details of each...

Only glanced at it so far, but I assume all the details are right.
Qilong Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2005
Hopefully, because the grey areas are either from strict impressions without bone to compensate, or are hesitant fill in's, this won't limit the utility of the panoply. But I paid a good deal to scale and exact measurments, and will soon have a complete table of measurements for the specimens. It would be even more useful had I studied the original material before hand, so I think that actually limits the real utility of this, but for the meanwhile, it's pretty decent....
aspidel Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2005  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Ah, that's coll, a comparison between all "good ol' Archie" :D
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