On View: Pterosaurs Invade the American Museum of Natural History

It is always fun when the American Museum of Natural History debuts a new dinosaur-themed exhibit, and Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of the Dinosaurs is no exception. Technically, pterosaurs were not dinosaurs or birds, but winged reptiles that ruled the skies more than 100 million years ago. They were the largest flying animals ever to have existed — and a quirky bunch. Some were imposing giants with 40 foot wingspans while others the size of a sparrow.

Dawndraco Kanzai, “Kansas Dragon of the Dawn,” one of the most complete large pterosaurs discovered so far. (Photo: © AMNH 2014)

Dawndraco Kanzai, “Kansas Dragon of the Dawn,” one of the most complete large pterosaurs discovered so far. (Photo: © AMNH 2014)

The first vertebrates to evolve powered flight, there were 150 known species of pterosaurs before they became extinct around the time of Tyrannosaurus Rex and other large dinosaurs. Unlike their dinosaur cousins, they left few fossils behind to help tell their evolutionary tale.

The exhibition introduces visitors to a diverse group of pterosaurs through life-like models in recreated environments, in-depth videos, rare fossils, interactive displays and more. Pterosaurs puts a special focus on flight so you can also channel your inner “Kansas Dragon of the Dawn” and pilot a pterosaur over a prehistoric landscape in a virtual flight lab.

Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of the Dinosaurs is on view at the American Museum of Natural History through January 5, 2015.

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