Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - 6

Section I

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6

Figure 1-4 Archaeopteryx is believed to be one of the ancestors of modern birds.

feather from Archaeopteryx was found in a German limestone quarry. A
more-complete fossilized specimen was found in 1861 in the same quarry.
This specimen, missing most of its skull and neck vertebrae, was discovered
just two years after Charles Darwin published his book On the Origin of
Species (1859). Darwin believed in evolution by natural selection, a process
by which organisms change over time as a result of heritable physical or behavioral traits. These changes allow an organism to adapt to its environment
and help it survive. Given enough time and enough accumulated changes,
natural selection can create an entirely new species. The discovery of the
fossilized specimen in 1861 seemed to confirm the natural selection theory
that Darwin had claimed in his book.
Ten other fossil specimens of Archaeopteryx have been found since that
first discovery. In 2011, a fossil with similar characteristics of Archaeopteryx
was discovered in Liaoning Province, China. This new specimen was named
Xiaotingia zheng. Numerous other specimens have been found in other areas
of Asia. Among these specimens are a magpie-sized primitive bird called
Confuciusornis, Protoperyx, and Epidexipteryx hui, a pigeon-size specimen
that is considered the earliest known of the bird-like dinosaurs. Magpies are
17 to 24 inches in length and weigh five to seven and one-half ounces. They
are related to the jays, crows, and ravens.
During the Cretaceous period 135 to 70 million years ago, dinosaurs and
marine reptiles reached their period of greatest abundance and then disappeared. Scientists still debate the reason for their demise.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition

Contents
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - Cover1
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - Cover2
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - iii
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - iv
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - Contents
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - vi
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - vii
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - viii
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - ix
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