Pterosaur collection

Pterosaur fossil skull, species Anhanguera

Computed tomography (CT) scan of the skull of Anhanguera, a  112-million-year-old pterosaur from Brazil. 

Our pterosaur collection contains approximately 1,000 specimens and casts, from isolated incomplete bones to articulated skeletons on slabs.

British pterosaurs are well represented in the collection due to historic quarrying and collecting across the British Isles.

Specimens include:

  • Dimorphodon macronyx from the Lower Lias Group (Hettangian-Sinemurian age)
  • Rhamphocephalus from the Stonesfield Slate (Bathonian age)
  • Ornithocheirids from the Cambridge Greensand (Cenomanian age) and the Chalk Group (Cenomanian-Turonian age) in southern and eastern England

One of the best-preserved specimens is Istiodactylus latidens from the Wealden Group (Lower Cretaceous). There are also a small number of specimens from the Gault Clay.

Although many specimens are from pyrite-bearing strata and are vulnerable to pyrite decay, the collection is maintained in very good condition.

The pterosaur collection is available for use in any legitimate research project. Recent work by external researchers includes computer modelling of biomechanical properties of pterosaur wing bones, and studies of how the group evolved.

Global coverage

Foreign material includes:

  • Pteranodon and Nyctosaurus from the USA
  • a skull of Anhanguera from Brazil, on display in the Museum
  • Dorygnathus, Rhamphorhynchus and Pterodactylus from Germany

Looking for a specific specimen?

The Pterosaur collection is being digitised

Senior Curator

Dr Lorna Steel

Any questions ?

If you would like to use any specimens for research   

Casts

We have high-quality casts of other museums’ important specimens, including:

  • Ctenochasma elegans 
  • Gnathosaurus subulatus
  • Pterodactylus antiquus
  • Rhamphorhynchus muensteri
  • Scaphognathus crassirostris
  • Quetzalcoatlus sp
  • Brasileodactylus araripensis
  • Pterodaustro guinazui
  • Dsungaripterus weii  
  • Sordes pilosus

Countries of origin

British Isles, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Kazakhstan, Jordan, Morocco, Mauritania, Niger, Tanzania, Congo, Argentina, Brazil, USA and Australia.

Geological range

Our pterosaur collection does not include any material from the Triassic, but has specimens from most stages of the Jurassic and Cretaceous.

Important historical collections

  • Mary Anning Anning collected the holotype of Dimorphodon macronyx
visitor-accessing-collections-hti-single

Accessing the collections

Scientists and collections management specialists can visit the collections and borrow specimens for research.

Collections management

Our duty is to provide a safe and secure environment for all of our collections.