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Re: Help with meaning "Urschwinge" for name Archaeopteryx



> I'm still researching how the term Urvogel became the
> special epithet
> of Archaeopteryx. However, for many reasons "Urvogel" was
> the NOT the
> meaning von Meyer intended for the name Archaeopteryx
> itself.

Google Ngrams may come to help here. "Urvogel" did suddenly become popular in 
the German literature shortly after 1870: 
http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=Urvogel&year_start=1800&year_end=2000&corpus=20&smoothing=3

Here's some examples:

"Urvogel" as Archie
Ratzel, 1896 http://books.google.de/books?id=XCtOAAAAcAAJ&pg=PR9&dq=%22Urvogel
Würtenberger, 1871 
http://books.google.de/books?id=V4nlAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA10&dq=%22Urvogel 
Unknown, 1872 http://books.google.de/books?id=Fa3OAAAAMAAJ&q=%22Urvogel
in Lipsius & Tischer, 1875 
http://books.google.de/books?id=mpRNAAAAYAAJ&q=%22Urvogel (mistranslates 
Archaeopteryx as "Urvogel")
Zittel, 1872 http://books.google.de/books?id=0lVaAAAAYAAJ&q=%22Urvogel
Meissner, 1875 http://books.google.de/books?id=Zc8JKsppCSUC&q=%22Urvogel 
("Urvogel" not specified but outside crown Aves, ie Archie since 1875 stem Aves 
hypodigm = 1)
Wiegandt, Hempel & Parey, 1875 
http://books.google.de/books?id=YzIrAQAAIAAJ&q=%22Urvogel (somewhat tentative, 
but "Wagner & Giebel didn't believe [the fossil shows evidence of] feathers" 
suggests Archie)
Unknown, 1878 http://books.google.de/books?id=cFrzAAAAMAAJ&q=%22Urvogel
Unknown, 1879 http://books.google.de/books?id=has1AQAAMAAJ&q=%22Urvogel
Unknown, 1880 http://books.google.de/books?id=WsCbF5YLGF0C&q=%22Urvogel

"Urvogel" not Archie, e.g.
Wagner, 1861 http://books.google.de/books?id=ymlAAAAAcAAJ&pg=PA28&dq=%22Urvogel 
(Urvogel a hypothetical "Protoavis")
Schleiden, 1869 
http://books.google.de/books?id=G2VJAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA107&dq=%22Urvogel (Urvogel is 
Palapteryx = Dinornis)
Unknown, 1889 http://books.google.de/books?id=zr8bAAAAMAAJ&q=urvogel (Urvogel 
is Protornis)

By the end of the 1870s, "Urvogel" had fully started to shift in meaning from a 
descriptive term or Protornis or Palapteryx to Archaeopteryx. 
Later occurrences of the previous meanin
 understood to mean Archie and Archie only. "Unknown, 1889" is a Swiss local 
journal; think "Proceedings of the Linnean Society of [blah]" - there are few 
if any later uses of "Urvogel" for P. glaronensis.

My money would be on Zittel's "Aus der Urzeit: Bilder aus der 
Schöpfungsgeschichte" as being the "guilty" work. It was apparently a bit like 
what you'd call today a "coffee-table book": 
http://archive.org/details/ausderurzeitbil00zittgoog
At any rate it seems to be the first work using "Urvogel" for Archie that was 
not written for a dedicated specialist audience (ie not just academics, but 
vertpaleontologists in particular), but to the "Bildungsbürgertum" in general. 
So the term "Urvogel" was essentially unknown to anyone except the most 
dedicated specialists before 1872ish, and afterwards to anyone else it almost 
exclusively referred to Archie.

And with Archie being Darwin's smoking gun, and the "theory of descent" 
(Deszendenztheorie, ie pre-synthetic evolutionary theory) being discussed more 
widely in those decades, it was only normal that meaning of "Urvogel" stuck.

Google is not perfect or reliable. But what we do get is a fairly *early* work 
with a *wide audience* that introduced the term to the general public.



Regards,

Eike