PNG Drawing of a Archaeopteryx

At-home activity: Draw an Archaeopteryx

earth scienceAs seen in the Star TribuneSep 11, 2020
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How to draw an Archaeopteryx

It's hard to understand a species without being able to see it. Unfortunately, for most extinct, prehistoric animals, we do not have a complete example of the species. That is where paleoartists come in. Using scientific data, they illustrate how the species may have looked.

Try your hand at being a paleoartist by drawing an Archaeopteryx, a 150-million-year-old relative of all birds!


1. Start with the body. First, draw an oval (at a slight angle) for the body. Then, add the neck and head.

2. Add wings and a tail. Draw wings on each side of the body. Then add legs. Finally, add a tail – it is roughly the shape of a necktie. We know this because of the feathers of the wings and tail are preserved in many Archaeopteryx fossils!

3. Add a beak and talons. Draw the bottom half of the beak, slightly open. Add small, pointy teeth. Then give the bird its claws. Make sure the back toe is smaller than the front toes.

4. Add detail. Draw an eye. Add feathers to the head, neck, wings, and to the underside of the tail.

5. Finishing touches. Bring your Archaeopteryx to life by coloring in your drawing. Then share your drawing with us on social media by tagging us and using #ShareYourDiscovery.