What happens when you go to the National History Museum as a Creative Writing student? You take the surrounding fossils and make them come alive on the page. Sometimes through poetry, sometimes through journalistic prose. This is a short piece by a talented alumnus, on one of the most fascinating species of dinosaurs ever uncovered.
The Jurassic Period was a very significant geological period in Earth’s history. It was the bridge between the start and the demise of the dinosaurs and it was the period which saw the dinosaurs take many different forms from the gargantuan Sauropods to dinosaurs the size of chickens. In this vast sea of dinosaurs, one creature stood out as an evolutionary link between dinosaurs and birds, and it was a dinosaur unlike any ever discovered before. Unearthed in some areas in Germany and Wyoming, the fossil of Archaeopteryx is possibly one of the most startling discoveries ever made.
The fossil of Archaeopteryx is so well preserved that we are able to make out every single detail about what the animal may have looked like.
The Archaeopteryx had two sets of wings. One of them was a pair of wings which were possibly used for… flight! Yes a flying dinosaur! The long limbs of the Archaeopteryx were used to maneuver up the trees with long claws which would dig into the bark, which would help it to balance on the tree.
The Archaeopteryx had only one set of wings. The wings that were used for flight were actually very similar to today’s pheasants and magpies; the Archaeopteryx would use the wind and glide, following the direction of the wind . Normally, Archaeopteryx ate small insects and vertebrates. The Archaeopteryx had long claws which would help dig out the maggots with real ease.
New research on fossils show that the plumage of the Archaeopteryx was black.
I think the Archaeopteryx is a really significant and important fossil as it helped paleontology bloom by completing the evolutionary link between dinosaurs and birds.
Discover Writing Academy Alumnus
Anunay is an Oxford Scholastica Academy alumnus who graduated in 2018 from the Discover Writing Academy. This piece was written in the National History Museum as part of the Hero Session of the course.