Archaeopteryx lithographica.,Archaeopteryx, sometimes referred to by its German name Urvogel ("original bird" or "first bird"), is the earliest and most primitive bird known. The name is from the Ancient Greek meaning "feather" or "wing". Archaeopteryx lived in the late Jurassic Period around 150–145 million years ago, in what is now southern Germany during a time when Europe was an archipelago of islands in a shallow warm tropical sea, much closer to the equator than it is now. Similar in size and shape to a European Magpie, Archaeopteryx could grow to about 0.5 metres (1.6 ft) in length. Despite its small size, broad wings, and inferred ability to fly or glide, Archaeopteryx has more in common with small theropod dinosaurs than it does with modern birds. In particular, it shares the following features with the deinonychosaurs (dromaeosaurs and troodontids): jaws with sharp teeth, three fingers with claws, a long bony tail, hyperextensible second toes ("killing claw"), feathers (which also suggest homeothermy), and various skeletal features. The features above make Archaeopteryx the first clear candidate for a transitional fossil between dinosaurs and birds. Thus, Archaeopteryx plays an important role not only in the study of the origin of birds but in the study of dinosaurs. The first complete specimen of Archaeopteryx was announced in 1861, only two years after Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species, and it became a key piece of evidence in the debate over evolution. Over the years, nine more fossils of Archaeopteryx have surfaced. Despite variation among these fossils, most experts regard all the remains that have been discovered as belonging to a single species, though this is still debated. Many of these eleven fossils include impressions of feathers—among the oldest (if not the oldest) direct evidence of feathers. Moreover, because these feathers are an advanced form (flight feathers), these fossils are evidence that feathers had been evolving for quite some time.
*Specifications: CLASS: Aves ORDER: Archaeopterygiformes FAMILY: Archaeopterygidae Origin: Solnhofen, Germany *
Skull Length: 5 cm (2.0 in)
Eusmilus Skull with base
Scientific Name: Eusmilus sicarius
Location: South Dakota, USA
Formation: White River Member, Brule Formation
Age: Oligocene, 30 MYA
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Australopithecus africanus., designated STS 5, was discovered by Robert Broom and John T. Robinson in Sterkfontein, Transvaal, South Africa in 1947. Although originally considered female, study of the roots of the canine teeth has cast serious doubt on it's gender, leading most to believe it is,in fact, from a sub-adult male instead.
*Skull Length: 19 cm (7.5 in)
Austrolopithecus afarensis., Lucy is, quite possibly, the most well-known fossil hominid. Discovered by Donald Johanson and Tom Gray in 1974 at Hadar, Ethiopia, Lucy is dated at 3.2 million years old. This specimen, a 40% complete skeleton of an adult female, gave sufficient evidence that A. afarensis was a bipedal species that walked upright. Lucy, scientifically known as AL 288-1, was named after the Beatles song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds."
*Skull Lengh 7.2in.
KNM ER 1470 Skull - First discovered in Koobi Fora, Kenya is 1972, Homo rudolphensis has consistently been the subject for debate. Many anthropologists believe this specimen to belong to the Australopithecine genus while some favor Homo habilis as its species. There are many features used to distinguish this sole specimen (KNM ER 1470) from both of these groups, but a consensus has yet to be reached.
*Specifications: CLASS: Fossil Hominids ORDER: Fossil Hominids FAMILY: Fossil Hominidae Origin: Kenya
*Skull Lenght 7.3in.