Freitag, 6. November 2009

The dancer in the stone

The 5th specimen of Archaeopteryx (syn. A. recurva; Jurapteryx recurva) is the smallest known, and is interpreted so to represent a juvenile animal. The fossil is well preserved, especially the skull. Discovered in 1951, it was first (as many times before and after) mistaken for a pterosaurian, and sold to the naturalist Franz Xaver Mayr, who also in a first moment determinated is as Compsognathus, a small dinosaur. After he realized his error, he halted the discovery secret until 1972, fearing legal problems for the non declared possession of such a special fossil. In 1972 he finally showed the fossil to the custodian of the natural collection in Munich, and in the following years Mayr and Peter Wellnhofer published the discovery. Since the opening of the Jura Museum in Eichstätt in 1976 the fossil is displayed in the collection of the Museum.

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