Earlier we looked at the nesting of other Archaeopteryx specimens. Here we’ll add a sixth, the Munich specimen, Archaeopteryx bavarica (Wellnhofer 1993, Figs. 1-4).
is largely complete, lacking only a maxilla and a few rostral bones. What sets this specimen apart are several traits, among them a long finger three, longer than finger 2.
The skull has been disarticulated
but the parts can be put back together. (Fig. 3). If valid, the only large bones I can’t seem to identify are the maxillae. Perhaps they are buried are further scattered beyond the matrix. The premaxillae are broken into several pieces. The dentaries remain connected by anteriorly, taphonomically widened in situ.
Here I add
the Munich specimen of Archaeopteryx to the large reptile tree (Fig. 4) and recover it basal to the Scansoropterygidae, the clade of basal birds that shares a long finger 3. Here all of the employed Archaeoptetryx specimens are sisters, yet they nest at the bases of three clades of derived birds. This aspect of their interrelationships has not been explored previously (to my knowledge). Rather only one (or perhaps two when Wellnhoferia was employed) Solnhofen birds have been employed in prior studies.
The nesting of A. bavarica
at the base of the Scansoriopterygidae provides a fitting finish to this multi-post study, based on a hunch that there was more variety in Solnhofen basal birds than the generic name of Archaeopteryx might suggest. Others have also noticed differences (so no novel hypotheses here) and some have erected new species for referred specimens. Some have not. Others have created new genera. I don’t think anyone has yet employed these six, or any six specimens of Solnhofen birds in a large phylogenetic analysis. This post can be a starting point for for just such an experiment conducted by academics. I am not the person to do it, as so many referees on so many rejected papers have indicated previously. And… I have not seen any of these specimens firsthand. But I have included them in a large gamut phylogenetic analysis (Fig. 4).
Wellnhofer P 1993. Das siebte Exemplar von Archaeopteryx aus den Solnhofener Schichten. Archaeopteryx 11; pp. 1-48,