ISLAMABAD-A new study provides substantial evidence that the first fossil feather ever to be discovered does belong to the iconic Archaeopteryx, a bird-like dinosaur named in Germany on this day in 1861. This debunks a recent theory that the fossil feather originated from a different species. 

The research published in Scientific Reports finds that the Jurassic fossil matches a type of wing feather called a primary covert. Primary coverts overlay the primary feathers and help propel birds through the air.

 The international team of scientists led by the University of South Florida analyzed nine attributes of the feather, particularly the long quill, along with data from modern birds. They also examined the 13 known skeletal fossils of Archaeopteryx, three of which contain well-preserved primary coverts. The researchers discovered that the top surface of an Archaeopteryx wing has primary coverts that are identical to the isolated feather in size and shape. The isolated feather was also from the same fossil site as four skeletons of Archaeopteryx, confirming their findings.