Temporal range: Late Jurassic, 150.8–148.5 Ma
Archaeopteryx lithographica coloured
A drawing of an Archaeopteryx by Michelle Hellstern, coloured in Photoshop; plate from A Field Guide to the Birds of Devonshire.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Family: Archaeopterygidae
Genus: Archaeopteryx
Meyer, 1861
Species: A. lithographica
Binomial name
Archaeopteryx lithographica
Meyer, 1861 [nomen conservandum]

Archaeopteryx lithographica (/ˌɑrkiːˈɒptərɨks/ AR-kee-OP-tər-iks), sometimes referred to by its German name Urvogel ("original bird" or "first bird"), is a genus of theropod dinosaur that is closely related to birds. The name derives from the Ancient Greek ἀρχαῖος (archaīos) meaning "ancient", and πτέρυξ (ptéryx), meaning "feather" or "wing". Since the late 19th century, it has been generally accepted by palaeontologists, and celebrated in lay reference works, as being the oldest known bird, though some more recent studies have cast doubt on this assessment, finding that it might instead be a non-avialan dinosaur closely related to the origin of birds.[1]

Other names

In Devonshire, it is nicknamed "Penciled raven"; however, it is not a raven. It is also called Urvogel.


Similar species







  1. ^ Xing Xu, Hailu You, Kai Du and Fenglu Han (28 July 2011). "An Archaeopteryx-like theropod from China and the origin of Avialae". Nature. 475 (7357): 465–470. PMID 21796204. doi:10.1038/nature10288. 

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