UK Museum Sending Its Precious First Bird Archaeopteryx Fossil To Japan

Posted: Mar 8 2017, 10:26am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

 
UK Museum Sending its Precious First Bird Archaeopteryx Fossil to Japan
Archaeopteryx Fossil Credit: BBC Video

The fossil of an ancient bird’s skull was flown to Japan. This bird bears the title Archaeopteryx.

The Natural History Museum of London has sent its first relic of Archaeopteryx which was the prototypical bird to Japan. This sample specimen is going to be whisked off to Asia along with 300 other fossils from the British institute.

The flat limestone sample that contains the bones of this creature that was a missing link between dinosaurs and birds is simply the most precious of things.

This sample is very vulnerable in its consistency. The slightest shock could send it crumbling to bits. Yet the museum administration is confident that all the care has been taken and no damage will occur along the journey to the Land of Cherry Blossoms.

Some of the parts are just 2 mm in their depth and they have to literally be handled with kid gloves. The trip to Tokyo is quite an ordeal despite the best intentions of the museum administration being behind the whole operation.

This tour was a necessity since some of the samples need to go out to the other museums spread out in the rest of the global village.

The fossil is a gemstone. It is to be preserved and cherished like it was the last artefact on earth. In 1863, it was bought from Germany for 700 pounds. It was originally exhumed from German soil.

Kept at the British Museum for so long, it was sent to the Natural History Museum in 1881, according to BBC. This is the first time it is being sent to Japan. This fossil bears the epithet the “London Specimen”. This sample is a holotype since the rest of the specimens are compared to it alone.

Eleven other complete specimens exist as well besides this one. To gaze at this ancient bird in all its glory is an awe-inspiring experience. It is approximately 150 million years old.

At first blush, it seems like a mixed collection of bones that have been thrown on the slab. Yet a closer look shows us that it is quite an exciting find.

The barely traceable outline of feathers and wings as well as the claws, lengthy bony tail and ridge-like teeth evince the fact that this was a key creature that joined the saurians with the avians in ancient times.

No less a famous figure than Charles Darwin was fascinated by the Archaeopteryx. Recently, there has been a large amount of research regarding this age-old bird.

The earliest avian species has inspired further studies into the roots of life on earth. It also points towards the startling idea that dinosaurs were sort of like giant birds.

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