Archaeopteryx continues to be a very interesting an important taxon and despite the wealth of research that has been poured onto it, there is always more to come. Part of this stems from the general inaccessibility of the specimens since not all are held in museums. As noted before, the specimens of Archaeopteryx are generally referred to by the names of the places in which they reside or by other familiar terms. Thus we have the original isolated feather, the London, Berlin, Munich, Haarlem, Maxberg, Eichstaett, Solnhofen and Thermopolis specimens. Of these the Maxberg specimen is now missing – probably not lost but likely in a private collection somewhere. Far less well known are the Buergermeister-Mueller specimen (the Solnhofen specimen is also in this museum) and the Daiting specimen.
It is the latter that we are most interested in here since it has been in private hands for many years and only came to light recently as a cast. The original has now been made available for study however and my friend and colleague Helmut Tischlinger (he of UV Archaeopteryx-es, pterosaurs and Microraptor) has done an initial description, topped, inevitably with some beautiful photographs. Helmut as ever has been good enough to allow me to show some of them here.
As you can see there is a pretty good skull present, parts of both arms and a furcula jammed into the eye socket. There are also traces of bone sticking out through the broken edge of the matrix implying that more material might be present, but buried. Also of special interest is that the specimen is from sediments quite a bit younger than those of the other Archaeopteryx specimens suggesting that they had a decent temporal distribution and were not quite the flash in the pan they might first appear to be.