New pterosaur website:

I see some great things
in the new pterosaur website produced by several artists who show pterosaurs in vivo with skin, fur, colors, highlights and shadows (no skeletons). Those known from only a skull or other parts are illustrated as complete, no doubt based on phylogenetic bracketing.

Nine young, male artists
listed here contribute to the website. The pterosaurs are listed alphabetically here. Pterosaur families are listed here. There environments/formations are listed here. They have a newsletter, but I have not yet seen my first one.

like most pterosaur workers, these nine artists don’t know what a pterosaur is. They report, “They were not dinosaurs as most assume, instead being flying reptiles and rather close relatives.” That’s a major weakness because we know what pterosaurs are based on a large scale (674 taxa) phylogenetic analysis, the large reptile tree. And they are more closely related to living lizards than to living birds/dinosaurs. And then there’s the literature (Peters 2000), which has been largely ignored by workers in favor of traditional hypotheses unable to provide specific data.

several of the artists have followed the narrow chord wing with hind limbs outstretched like horizontal stabilizers with pedal lateral digit 5 unbound from posterior uropatagia.

several others have not. They continue to follow old deep chord paradigms.

most of these artists know how to bounce light off of surfaces and their use of perspective and camera angle is fascinating.

several artists do not have good skeletons under those surfaces. It is so important to precise;y follow the fossil data and not make things up.

there are several artists involved here and they should be providing guidance to each other to avoid errors and ‘raise their game. ‘

some of the text (as in Rhamphorhynchus) mistakes small adults for babies (Prondvai et al. 2012, and we’ll talk about that paper again tomorrow). Although some papers are referred to, no references are provided. I have not looked at every web page. So, the above comments represent my views on a quick run through…

While we’re talking about pterosaur art…
I found this wonderful Zhenyuanopterus online (Fig. 1, NOT at Not sure who the artist is, but it has an excellent morphology with narrow chord wings and horizontal stabilizer-like hind limbs. If you know the artist, send me the name so I can give credit.

Figure 1. Excellent Zhenyuanopterus by an unknown artist. I'd be happy to provide credit once that artist becomes known.

Figure 1. Excellent Zhenyuanopterus by an unknown artist. I’d be happy to provide credit once that artist becomes known.

Peters D 2000. A reexamination of four prolacertiforms with implications for pterosaur phylogenesis. Rivista Italiana di Paleontologia e Stratigrafia 106: 293–336.
Prondvai E, Stein K, Osi A, Sander MP 2012.
Life History of Rhamphorhynchus Inferred from Bone Histology and the Diversity of Pterosaurian Growth Strategies. PLoS ONE 7(2): e31392. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0031392



2 thoughts on “New pterosaur website:

  1. Great post! I love reading your works.
    I wanted to show you a game consisting of dinosaurs (and recently added pterosaur) called “The Isle”. It’s a pre-alpha game, still in development but, players can buy this on-going version, they just have to deal with updates and glitches.
    To get to the point, they added Quetzalcoatlus recently and I wanted to read your critique on it.
    Here is a video showing the gameplay:

    And a few images:


    • It always amazes me how much detail you guyz put into those worlds you create. Q looks good, but I would reduce the chord (depth of the wing). It should be narrow, like a sailplane. That also helps it fold up better. Stretch the membrane between the wingtip and elbow. Good horizontal hind limbs, but stretch out those tibiae. And when grounded, like bats the wing membrane folds away into mere nothingness. Just the finger bones, essentially, are all that show. That’s what we see in all such fossils. Thanks for sharing!

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