- The Loom
Archaeopteryx’s Evolutionary Humiliation Continues
Few extinct species have emerged from the Earth with more fanfare than Archaeopteryx. In 1861, workers in a limestone quarry in Germany discovered the impression of a single 145-million-year-old feather. Hermann von Meyer, the paleontologist who first studied, almost thought it was a forgery, until he compared the impressions of the feather on the upper and lower layers of limestone in which it was discovered. “No draughtsman could produce anything so real,” he declared.
Soon von Meyer was working on another fossil: the entire body of the animal that grew such feathers. It had some hallmarks of birds, such as feathered wings, but it also had more reptilian traits seen on no bird today, such as teeth and a long,