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    Description

    OUTSTANDING "FLYING DINOSAUR"
    Pteranodon sternbergi
    Upper Cretaceous
    Niobrara Formation, Smoky Hill Chalk, Lane Co, Kansas
    The Pteranodons were the dominant flying creatures of their day, with wingspans greater than any living bird and highly specialized wing membranes that helped make them superb flyers. They lived primarily at sea and their skeletons have been discovered 250 miles from the nearest shoreline, although tracks in the fossil record indicate that they could also walk on all fours when necessary. Strictly speaking, being airborne, they were not technically dinosaurs, but two further elements make the distinction plain: they had warm blood and although evidence of feathers has not been found, many were covered in a coat of hair. With hollow bones and delicately lightweight construction, they achieved the power of flight, creatures halfway between reptile and bird. For the very same anatomical reasons, however, they have fared less well in the fossil record, too often pulverized to an unidentifiable dust; either that or, when recovered, all that remains are the wing bones, the bodies having been eaten by their primary antagonist, the terrible Mosasaur. This is one of the finest Pteranodon skeletons to come to light in recent years; 75-80% complete, all of the primary skeletal elements have been preserved, including the notarium, hips, sternum, gastralia and ribs, legs and elements of the wing claws (hands) and feet, plus an excellent skull. The bones exhibit a lovely texture and remarkable three-dimensionality for their fragility in life, and bear a lovely warm brown patina. The specimen comes from the abundant deposits of the chalky Nibrara Formation, created from the accumulation of microorganisms in the Western Interior Seaway 82-87 million years ago. A world-class and extremely impressive display piece, the complete specimen has been mounted and articulated on a pho-matrix plate measuring 7 x 4 ¼ Feet.
    Provenance: Private Museum in Colorado


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    Auction Dates
    January, 2010
    17th Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
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