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Archeopteryx is a connecting link between reptiles and birds

Archeopteryx  is a connecting link (missing link) between reptiles and birds. The following are the reptilian and avian characters of Archeopteryx.

Reptilian characters:
1. Jaws are provided with homodont teeth.
2. Long, lizard like tail with 20 free caudal vertebrae.
3. Bones are not pneumatic.
4. Cervical vertebrae are fewer, 9 to 19.
5. Amphicoelus vertebrae as in Sphenodon.
6. Cervical and abdominal ribs are present, in addition to thoracic ribs; Ribs are single headed and without uncinate process
7. Sternum is weak or absent.
8.Eyes are provided with sclerotic ossicles.
9. Scales are present.
10. Fore limbs are provided with threw free fingers tipped with claws. The phalangial formula is 2, 3, and 4 in the I, II, and III fingers.
11. Carpals and metacarpals are free; there is no carpometacarpus.
12.Pelvic girdle has an elongated ilium and a backwardly directed pubis.

Avian Characters:
1. Presence of feathers. If the feathers of Archeopteryx were not preserved in the fossil. It would have been taken for some bipedal diapsid reptile.
2. Fore limbs are modified as wings.
3.Tail bears modified as wings.
4.Tail bears two rows of feathers.
5. Rounded brain case
6. Beaks are present.
7. Bones in the skull are intimately fused.
8. Bones of limbs and girdles are bird like.
9. A keel is present of the sternum.
10.Tibia and fibula are separate.
11. V shaped furcula is present.

Learn more:
  • General characters of Reptiles
  • General characters of Birds

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