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Re: _ARCHAEOPTERYX_ FEATHERS



> Stan Friesen wrote:
> 
> > This brings up an interesting point about the preservation of Archie.  Are
> > any feathers other than the flight-related feathers actually preserved in
> > any specimen?  As I remember the specimens, the preserved feathers are
> > mainly, or entirely, the wing and tail feathers.  Am I right, or has
> > looking at plaster casts through glass deceived me?
> 
> Feduccia's THE ORIGIN AND EVOLUTION OF BIRDS has (on page 31) a
> reproduction of a sketch with the following caption:
> 
> "Pencil tracing of the Berlin specimen of _Archaeopteryx_ in the Yale
> University Archival Collection, showing the presence of contour feathers on
> various parts of the body, including the throat, back, breast, and legs,
> which were apparently prepared away. The specimen is labeled at the upper
> right as Urvogel/ "Ratseleidesche" (original bird/"riddle lizard"). This
> sketch was included with a letter dated 7 March 1879, from F.A. Schwartz of
> Nuremberg, offering to sell the "Berlin _Archaeopteryx_" and a collection
> of Solnhofen fossils to Yale's Peabody Museum. This letter and sketch were
> discovered in August 1983 by Miriam Schwartz, secretary to John Ostrom.
> This specimen shows that _Archaeopteryx_ most likely had a complete
> covering of contour body feathers. (Courtesy John Ostrom and Peabody Museum
> of Natural History, Yale University)"
> 
> 
> Brian (franczak@ntplx.net)
>

This is a drawing made by Alfred Oppel (who, I supposed, didn't 
know it'd be used to sell Archaeopteryx to the USA) on the basis of 
the Berlin specimen, and the main attraction appears to be the 
presence of feathers around the head. John Ostrom wrote an article 
about it in _The Beginnings of Birds_, i.e. the acta of the 1984 
Eichstaett conference. I have scanned the thing and I'd be happy to 
mail it to interested parties (approx. 500K). 

Ilja Nieuwland
Groningen, NL