Most scientists believe that birds evolved from small therapod dinosaurs. The key step was the development of feathers, turning animals that could walk or climb into animals that could fly. The first fossil discovered with feathers was found in 1861; just two years after Charles Darwin published his theory of evolution in 1859.

Archaeopteryx, which lived over 150 million years ago, is a classic example of an evolutionary link between two groups of animals. As of today, there are only ten known specimens of archaeopteryx. Archaeopteryx: Icon of Evolution presents some of the finest known fossils from the late Jurassic period showing life at the time of these first birds, including the Thermopolis specimen recently investigated by Larson et al. Many other stunningly well-preserved fossils from the world renowned quarries of Solenhofen, Germany, are featured.

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