The Chicago Archaeopteryx, unveiled in May, has been on display in a temporary exhibit. It will go off view for the summer while its permanent exhibit is under construction. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

After Saturday, the Field Museum’s newest dinosaur fossil will be off display until fall while staff works on building a permanent exhibit for the Chicago Archaeopteryx.

The Chicago Archaeopteryx was unveiled Monday at the Field Museum. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

The Field Museum ushered in a new era of scientific exploration with Monday’s unveiling of the Chicago Archaeopteryx.

Skull of archaeopteryx embedded in rock

A piece of evolutionary history has made its way to the Field Museum. A remarkably preserved Archaeopteryx fossil has been acquired, offering an astonishing window into the transition between dinosaurs and modern birds. This rare and scientifically significant find sheds new light on the origins of flight and the incredible journey of evolution.

A graphic that says “Where in the World is Archaeopteryx”? (Nicole Cardos / WTTW News)

Only 13 specimens of Archaeopteryx — and one special feather — are known to exist since the first Archaeopteryx fossils were discovered in 1860. Most come from the same deposit of Solnhofen Limestone in Bavaria, Germany.

Jingmai O’Connor, associate curator of fossil reptiles at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Shake any family tree, and a few skeletons are bound to fall out — that’s as true for birds as it is for people. Except that for birds, the wacky cousin lurking in one of those branches is T. Rex.

Jingmai O'Connor, associate curator of fossil reptiles, with the Chicago Archaeopteryx specimen, at the Field Museum, March 2024. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

The Field formally announced to the world what had become a not-so-well-kept secret: The museum had acquired just the 13th specimen known to exist of Archaeopteryx, a fossil often described as the “missing link” between dinosaurs and birds.

Jingmai O’Connor, associate curator of fossil reptiles at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History. (WTTW News)

WTTW News sat down with paleornithologist Jingmai O’Connor and talked about dinosaurs, birds, the Chicago Archaeopteryx, evolution and why studying fossil birds is more important now than ever.

FILE - In this Feb. 5, 2018, photo, Garth Dallman, center, and Bill Kouchie, right, both from the dinosaur restoration firm Research Casting International, Ltd., begin the of dismantling Sue, the Tyrannosaurus rex, on display at Chicago's Field Museum. (Teresa Crawford / AP Photo, file)

For years, the massive mostly intact dinosaur skeleton that came to be known as Sue the T-rex was at the center of a legal battle. The latest dispute involves who inherits what’s left of the money created by the sale of Sue.

(Alex Ruppenthal / WTTW News)

Researchers at the Field Museum are embarking on a project to discover what was the point — if any — of T. rex’s tiny arms.

Field assistant Kylie Ruble, left, and Robert DePalma excavate a slab of fossils from the Tanis deposit. (Courtesy of Robert DePalma)

An international team of researchers say they have found fossilized remains of fish and a dinosaur in North Dakota at a site that they believed died on the very day of an asteroid impact. That story is told in a new documentary called “Dinosaur Apocalypse” airing on WTTW.

New sensory features allow Field Museum visitors to smell the rotting-flesh stench of Sue the T. Rex’s breath. (Martin Baumgaertner / Field Museum)

New “sensory stations” allow visitors to get a more intimate experience of the museum’s iconic dinosaur – including the stench of Sue’s post-meal breath.

Field Museum scientists remove several bones from Sue the T. Rex on Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019. (Eric Manabat / The Field Museum)

What can CT scans tell us about the diseases or injuries Sue the T. Rex might have had? Scientists are hoping to determine just that, but needed to remove several bones Tuesday for testing.

Remains of a freshwater shark with teeth shaped like spaceships from the 1980s video game Galaga was discovered in sediment surrounding Sue the T. Rex’s bones. (Velizar Simeonovski / Field Museum)

Tiny fossilized teeth found in sediment that surrounded Sue the T. Rex have led to the classification of a new shark species. 

Sue the T. Rex inside a new “private suite” at the Field Museum (Photos by Alex Ruppenthal / WTTW)

Sue’s new digs present the dinosaur in a more authentic light using technology that has come a long way since the T. Rex skeleton arrived in Chicago more than 20 years ago.

Sue the T. Rex (Courtesy The Field Museum)

Sue’s move to a new 5,100-square-foot home is part of a decadeslong plan to display the dinosaur in a proper scientific context that helps demonstrate why the T. Rex “is widely considered the greatest dinosaur fossil in the world.”

Renowned paleontologist and University of Chicago graduate Steve Brusatte tells us about his new book, “The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World.”