Bird characteristics


The brain of Archaeopteryx  reconstructed from a CT scan. The largest pair of lobes was the centre for flight control and coordination.


Archaeopteryx also has characters typical of birds

  • Wings with a flight feather arrangement just like modern birds
  • Aerodynamic flight feathers with an asymmetric vane.
  • Feathered tail
  • A reversed ‘perching’ toe on the hind foot

Recent research at the Natural History Museum using CT has revealed that Archaeopteryx had a bird-like brain with large areas that co-ordinated flight, balance and sight


The same CT-based research showed that the semi-circular canals in the inner ear were just like those of modern birds. This provides further evidence that Archaeopteryx had a sense of balance comparable to modern birds.

archaeopteryx lithographica ear

This CT-based reconstruction of the semicircular canals showed that they were the same size and shape as in modern birds. The blue lines show where parts of the bony canals were missing in the fossil.