New Pterosaur Sculptures Hit Japan

Dr. Tai Kubo tells me a new pterosaur exhibit will begin soon in Japan featuring many important specimens, including Darwinopterus and several of my pterosaur sculptures purchased over a year ago by Triebold Paleontology with their plastic and fiberglass reproductions destined for this exhibit. These are pictures of the wood/wire/plastic originals.

Model of Jeholopterus, the famous vampire pterosaur.

Figure 1.  Model of Jeholopterus, the famous vampire pterosaur.

Unfortunately the original skull of Jeholopterus was popped off and the bizarre Bennett anurognathid skull was added for the new exhibit. You can see a YouTube video of the Triebold modifications here. We earlier discussed how Bennett mistook a displaced maxilla for a scleral ring and so many other mistakes. The rest of the sculptures, I think are unaltered.

Pterodaustro by David Peters

Figure 2. Pterodaustro sculpture


Quetzalcoatlus sculpture by David Peters

Figure 3. Quetzalcoatlus sculpture


Standing model of Nyctosaurus by David Peters

Figure 4. Standing model of Nyctosaurus

Nyctosaurus UNSM93000

Dorygnathus model by David Peters

Figure 5. Dorygnathus model.

Dorygnathus R156

Rhamphorhynchus model by David Peters

Figure 6. Rhamphorhynchus model

Rhamphorhynchus muensteri  In this model I raised the elbows more than in traditional models, which added curvature to the wing.

Istiodactylus model by David Peters

Figure 7. Istiodactylus model. Gray areas are unknown, but based on sister taxa.

IstiodactylusGray areas are unknown, but based on sister taxa.

Dimorphodon model by David Peters

Figure 8. Dimorphodon model. This one has the bad deep jugal, which I realize now is a displaced surangular.

Dimorphodon. The model pictured here is old and does not represent the latest thinking on the deep jugal, which was promoted here by others, but in reality this represents a displaced surangular, as covered in the same blog. No other pterosaur has such an autapomorphy. No other pterosaur has the purported external mandibular fenestra.

Pteranodon model based on the Triebold specimen by David Peters

Figure 9. Pteranodon model based on the Triebold specimen

Pteranodon NMC41358. One of the most complete Pteranodons ever found. Small crested and small pelvic opening, standard for most Pteranodons. 

Thalassodromeus model by David Peters

Figure 10. Thalassodromeus model

Thalassodromeus only the skull is known.

And finally two others that were sold long ago and are not in the museum exhibit.

 Pterodactylus by David Peters

Figure 11. Pterodactylus. Note the feet are should be plantigrade. I made these before I knew much about matching pterosaur footprints. The one on the left is wood. The one on the right is plastic with hair and rubber wings.

Pterodactylus. Yes, the feet are wrong. They should be plantigrade, but I think these models preceded the 1995 papers that revolutionized thinking on pterosaur tracks and certainly preceded my interest in pterosaur feet.

These models have been online at where you can also download pdfs of some of my books from the 1980s.

1 thought on “New Pterosaur Sculptures Hit Japan

  1. The Jeholo­pterus model is illu­minating, should be shown to all the begin­ners in the pterosaur field. It shows much better than other species models the general BAUPLAN of pterosaurs, for is devoid of specific, highly specialized body features that create confu­sion in under­standing that “plan”. Further­more, its skull is not elong­ated and “beaked”, which prevents imag­ining pterosaurs as bird-like; and its small dimensions prevent the mis­conception that most pterosaurs were huge soarers (with enormous heads, etc.).

    Least but not last, its hindlimbs are clearly strong, which shows better than hundreds of words that (at least some) pterosaurs were GOOD walkers or even leapers.

    By the way, vampire bats are (nowadays) the best walkers/­runners/­leapers among bats. That’s due to the neces­sity of escaping in a split second the dangers deriving from moving around and onto a huge and freely moving animal.. and i envision (if i may) that also the big legs of Jeholo­pterus arise from the same neces­sity.

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