Pterosaur collection

The Museum pterosaur collection comprises approximately 1000 specimens, from isolated incomplete bones to articulated skeletons on slabs. 

Specimens

Although many specimens are from pyrite-bearing strata vulnerable to decay, the Museum's pterosaur collection is generally in very good condition.

British pterosaurs are well represented, due to historic quarrying and collecting across the British Isles. These include:

  • Dimorphodon macronyx from the Lower Lias (Hettangian-Sinemurian)
  • Rhamphocephalus from the Stonesfield "Slate" (Bathonian)
  • Ornithocheirids from the Cambridge Greensand (Cenomanian) and the Chalk Group (Cenomanian-Turonian) 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. 

Foreign material includes Pteranodon and Nyctosaurus from the USA, a skull of Anhanguera from Brazil (on display) and Dorygnathus and Pterodactylus from Germany. 

An overview of the pterosaur collection is available online, including a list of specimens and description of recent curatorial developments.  

Access collection information online

Request a reprint

Titanopteryx philadelphiae wing bones.

Titanopteryx philadelphiae wing bones from the late Cretaceous in Jordan.

Casts

High quality casts are held of several important specimens housed in other museums. These include:

  • Ctenochasma gracile
  • Gnathosaurus subulatus
  • Quetzalcoatlus sp
  • Brasileodactylus araripensis
  • Pterodaustro guinazui
  • Dsungaripterus weii
Geological and geographic range

The pterosaur collection does not include any material from the Triassic. 

The Jurassic and Cretaceous of the UK, Europe, North and South America, Kazakhstan, Jordan, Africa and China are represented, in some cases by casts only.

Using palaeontology collections

Enquiries

Dr Lorna Steel
Curator, Vertebrates and Anthropology Palaeobiology Division
Earth Sciences Department
The Natural History Museum
Cromwell Rd, South Kensington
SW7 5BD

+44 (0)20 7942 5058

Email

Visiting the collection

Visitors may use benches adjacent to the collection, which are equipped with lamps and a long-arm microscope. 

The Reptile Library on the ground floor is also available for visitors, but books and reprints must be returned after use.

For access to recent specimens, please make an appointment with the relevant Zoology Department curator.