Is Archaeopteryx a Valid Transitional Fossil? |

TBC Staff

Is Archaeopteryx a Valid Transitional Fossil?

Archaeopteryx is the name given to an animal about the size of a crow. It is represented by fossil remains that display teeth, three claws on each wing, a flat sternum (breastbone), belly ribs (gastralia), and a long, bony tail. In other words, it had characteristics like those of many small dinosaurs. What made Archaeopteryx an exciting find was the fact that the fossil also exhibited feathers, a lightly-built body with hollow bones, and a wishbone (furcula “Archaeopteryx” in Dinosaur and Paleontology Dictionary] AsIs Archaeopteryx a Valid Transitional Fossil? a result, many people who believe in evolution presume this fossil represents a transitional species between reptiles and birds. Along with other evidence (which we will examine later) it led to the theory that the dinosaurs did not become extinct, but rather all turned into birds. The purpose of this page is to clarify the facts about Archaeopteryx and other similar transitional fossil species.

One article [Tim Beardsley, “Fossil Bird Shakes Evolutionary Hypotheses,” Nature, Vol. 322, 21 August 1986, p. 677] reveals that the fossils of normal birds have been found in older rock strata than Archaeopteryx. Therefore, either Archaeopteryx is not a transitional fossil (since birds already existed at the same time and there was nothing to “transition” into) or rock strata can not be accurately dated. If either of these is correct (and one must be) Archaeopteryx loses its value as a transitional species.