Paleontologists view Archaeopteryx as a transition between dinosaurs and modern birds. With its blend of avian and reptilian features, it was thought by many to have been the earliest bird. Discovered in 1860 in Germany, it is sometimes referred to as Urvogel, the German word for "original bird" or "first bird." Recent discoveries, however, have made scientists rethink that status.
The more common name Archaeopteryxis a combination of two ancient Greek words: archaīos, meaning "ancient," andptéryx, meaning "feather" or "wing." All 11 fossil specimens have been assigned, with some controversy, to a single species, Archaeopteryx