Photo: American Museum of Natural History

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For as long as dinosaurs walked the Earth, flying animals called pterosaurs ruled the skies. They ranged from the size of a sparrow to that of a two-seater plane. Close relatives of dinosaurs, these extraordinary winged reptiles—the first back-boned animals to evolve powered flight, and the only vertebrates to develop this ability besides birds and bats—are the focus of the intriguing exhibition opening November 17, 2016 at the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery.

The largest exhibition about these flying reptiles ever mounted in the United States, Pterosaurs highlights the latest research by museum scientists and leading paleontologists around the world and features rare pterosaur casts from Italy, Germany, China, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Brazil as well as life-size models, videos, and interactive exhibits that immerse visitors in the mechanics of pterosaur flight, including a motion sensor-based interactive that allows you to use your body to “pilot” two species of pterosaurs through virtual prehistoric landscapes.

“Despite persistently captivating our popular imagination, pterosaurs are among the least well-understood large animals from the age of dinosaurs,” said Ellen V. Futter, President of the American Museum of Natural History. “In the past decade, however, there has been an explosion of pterosaur research and new fossil discoveries including by Museum scientists and the exhibition’s curatorial team. Showcasing scientifically accurate information, this exhibition presents these fascinating winged reptiles, compares them to both dinosaurs of yesteryear and modern day birds and bats, and explores the biomechanics of pterosaur flight.”

The exhibition features dozens of casts and replicas of fossils from the American Museum of Natural History collection and from museums around the world in addition to a spectacular cast fossil that has never before been exhibited outside of Germany and the cast remains of an unknown species of giant pterosaur unearthed in Romania in 2012 by scientists working in association with the American Museum of Natural History.

“I think visitors to this exhibition will be most surprised by the staggering variation we see among pterosaurs. Not just variation in body shapes and in size of these fascinating animals, but also in the shape and size of the extravagant crests found on the heads of some of these creatures,” said Michael J. Novacek, Provost, Senior Vice President, and Curator in the Division of Paleontology. “I’m particularly excited that much of the Museum’s most recent research will be presented to the public, including our work around the world.”

The exhibition at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery opens on November 17 and runs through April 2, 2017. Admission is $18.50 for adults (non-member pricing) and includes Museum and exhibit admission as well as a documentary film narrated by Sir David Attenborough. The film will be shown in the OtterBox Digital Dome Theatre. Address: 408 Mason Court, Fort Collins, CO. Information: or call 970-221-6738.

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