Pterosaurs Exhibition Opens Saturday, April 5
by AMNH on
Coming in just one month, the new exhibition Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs provides a kaleidoscopic introduction to the lost world of these extinct flying reptiles.
Pterosaurs lived from about 220 million years to 66 million years ago, and the group’s 150 known species evolved into an astonishing range of sizes—just one of the amazing characteristics of this reptile group featured in the upcoming exhibition.
The earliest pterosaurs were relatively small flying reptiles with sturdy bodies and long tails—about the size of a seagull. These included Preondactylus buffarinii, found in the Italian Alps and dating back to around 220 million years ago. Later pterosaurs evolved into an array of sizes, ranging from that of a paper plane to giant, hang-glider-size behemoths, as you'll see in the exhibition.
In 2008, researchers discovered one of the smallest pterosaurs known so far—with a wingspan of only 10 inches or so. Found in China and called Nemicolopterus crypticus, this tiny pterosaur lived about 120 million years ago. You can see a model of its skeleton in the exhibition.
Meanwhile, you can also see a life-size model of Quetzalcoatlus northropi, with wings spanning around 33 feet. One of the largest pterosaurs known, it lived about 67 million years ago and was discovered in Big Bend National Park, in southwestern Texas.
Find out more about these amazing flying reptiles in a video.
Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs opens Saturday, April 5, 2014.