What did the Archaeopteryx eat?


Quick Answer

The Archaeopteryx was a carnivorous species, primarily eating frogs, lizards, dragonflies, beetles, mites and other insects. It used its sharp bill, teeth and feathers to help capture its prey.

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Full Answer

The Archaeopteryx used its long, sharp bill and teeth to catch insects and small animals on the ground and in trees. It was also common for the Archaeopteryx to eat mites and insects found on its body, picking them from its skin or catching them in the feathers of its wings.

Although the Archaeopteryx had hyper-mobile second toes, or killing claws, scientists do not believe that the claws were used to hunt or kill prey. Its diet of insects and small animals suggests that these claws were an evolutionary remnant rather than a useful tool.

The Archaeopteryx was about the size of a crow, reaching up to 20 inches in body length and weighing 1.8 to 2.2 pounds. It had an unusually long tail in comparison to its body length.

Although this birdlike dinosaur had well-developed, asymmetrical flight feathers, it did not fly long distances. Instead, it used its wings to glide or fly short distances. Like the peacock, it probably spent most of its time on the ground rather than in trees, flying only to escape from predators.

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