You know what every museum needs? A mounted giant azhdarchid skeleton (sculpted), by necessity) standing next to a giraffe. @MarkWittonAnd many of us whole-heartedly agree. Flying models of azhdarchid pterosaurs are what typically grace museums, if they appear at all. These are impressive, but also often missed. For example, at the AMNH pterosaur exhibit on that ended earlier this year, there was a giant fleshed out azhdarchid model on the ceiling. The problem? It was in a room with lots of things that people were more interested in, and hardly anyone actually looked up and saw it. Even once you do see it, it's hard to really understand how big it is, and that it is really a model of a real, flying animal.
— Mike Taylor (@MikeTaylor) March 12, 2015
|Full-sized flying azhdarchid model at the State Museum of Natural History, Karlsruhe|
|An azhdarchid pterosaur standing to attention with a giraffe|
and human for scale. Image copyright Mark Witton.
I can personally attest to how impressive a standing floor mount of an azhdarchid can be, and what it can do. I've always been interested in palaeontology, but was never sure exactly what I wanted to study. That was until I went to France in 2009 on a family trip during my undergraduate degree. I had heard about a small but interesting natural history museum in Esperaza, and we decided to check it out. Here I saw my first (and only) azhdarchid floor mount, and was instantly amazed. I'm not sure how long I stood there, but I can tell you that I spent probably 20 minutes looking at this thing from different angles in awe. That was the moment that I decided I wanted to study pterosaurs, and it was that instant that made me ask the question "how did these large animals fly?". And to top it off, that mount isn't even showing the azhdarchid standing to full height. It's sprawling quite a bit, and should be even taller.
|The Quetzalcoatlus standing skeletal mount in Esperaza (sorry the picture isn't great!)|
- Thanks to Mike Taylor and Mark Witton for the idea, and Ben Miller and Joe Hancock for the blog post encouragement!