Replica Archaeopteryx Skull
Archaeopteryx, sometimes referred to by its German name Urvogel ("original bird" or "first bird"), is the earliest and most primitive bird known. The name is from the Ancient Greek meaning "feather" or "wing". Archaeopteryx lived in the late Jurassic Period around 150‚ 145 million years ago, in what is now southern Germany. Similar in size and shape to a European Magpie, they could grow to about 0.5 metres (1.6 ft) in length. Despite its small size, broad wings, and inferred ability to fly or glide, Archaeopteryx has more in common with small theropod dinosaurs than it does with modern birds.