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Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs
For 150 million years, flying reptiles called pterosaurs ruled the skies. As the first vertebrates to fly under their own power, pterosaurs are evolutionary all-stars, with some sporting wingspans the size of small airplanes. This spring, keep your head in the clouds: the Pterosaurs exhibit is coming in for a landing at the California Academy of Sciences.
Until they went extinct 66 million years ago, more than 150 striking species of pterosaur circled the globe, leaving tantalizing traces of their existence on every continent. Paleontologists and pint-sized explorers alike will dig this exhibit’s treasure trove of newly discovered fossils and dynamic dioramas, while amateur aerobats of all ages will earn their wings piloting pterosaurs through virtual prehistoric landscapes.
This exhibit is now closed.
If reptiles can fly, so can you. Step back in time—and into thin air—as you pilot a virtual pterosaur through an exciting obstacle course of prehistoric proportions.
Good pterosaur fossils are hard to find in the field, but prepare to hit pay dirt at the Academy. Examine a variety of fossil specimens from around the world, including a cast from an as-yet unknown species of giant pterosaur, along with the first known fossilized pterosaur egg.
An action-packed Cretaceous seascape from present-day northeast Brazil awaits your exploration. Heads up: A colossal Thalassodromeus dive-bombs its dinner from above, while a predatory Cladocyclus fish rounds up a meal from below.
A Crest Above the Rest
From multicolored mohawks to dagger-shaped blades, pterosaurs truly had heads for flair. Investigate examples of these flamboyant crests and explore some of your own theories about the purposes they might have served.
Clockwise from top:
Crest Gallery and Quetzalcoatlus humerus cast © AMNH/C. Chesek
Thalassodromeus skull cast © AMNH/C. Chesek
Pterosaur and Golden Gate Bridge photo illustration © AMNH/Getty Images
Fly Like a Pterosaur Exhibit © AMNH/D. Finnin
Dark Wing Fossil Cast © AMNH/D. Finnin
Tupandactylus illustration © AMNH
Cretaceous Sea Diorama © AMNH/R. Mickens
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