Many scientists agree that Archaeopteryx is the earliest known bird in existence, giving it a unique claim to fame as the first of its kind. This winged animal may well represent an evolutionary midpoint between birds and reptiles, providing potential proof that modern birds evolved from prehistoric, birdlike reptilian ancestors.
In this sense, the Archaeopteryx fossil record may be some of the most important fossilized specimens in science. These fossils show that Archaeopteryx has some physical features in common with modern birds, including feathery wings and reduced fingers. Other features, including its teeth and bony tail, set it apart from its modern descendants.