The Museum pterosaur collection comprises approximately 1000 specimens, from isolated incomplete bones to articulated skeletons on slabs.
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:
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.
Titanopteryx philadelphiae wing bones from the late Cretaceous in Jordan.
High quality casts are held of several important specimens housed in other museums. These include:
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.
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.