New exhibit focuses on rare Pterosaurs

9NEWS @ 5. 11/15/2016

KUSA - From tiny to massive: a one-of-a-kind collection of Pterosaurs is about to debut in Fort Collins.

"This exhibit is about Pterosaurs, which are a group of flying reptiles that aren't dinosaurs and they're not birds, but they lived at the same time as the traditional dinosaurs," said Mark Norell, chairman of the Division of Paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, where the exhibit originated two years ago.

Pterosaurs once roamed our state and lived between 230 and 65 million years ago. For the next six months, the fossil display will be at the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery, starting this week.

These fossils are rare.

"Their skeletons are extraordinarily fragile,” Norell said. “The bones are paper thin."

There are only 100 known varieties of Pterosaurs. The exhibit pieces together what these flying creatures were like and where they lived.

"At the museum, we like to tell global stories through a local lens and, in fact, some of the Pterosaur fossil discoveries have been in this region: western Colorado, Utah and Kansas," said Donna Jared of the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery

Some of the Pterosaurs were enormous, with a 40-foot wingspan.

"You can hardly conceive that some of these animals could ever fly," Norell said.

Others were smaller and cute, in an odd sort of way.

"So, the fossil record is really poor,” he said, “but at the same time, it really is getting better and we are learning a lot through those discoveries and also through the usage of new technologies to be able to study them."

Now, people in Colorado will get a chance to study them, too, as they welcome home some of the state's earliest residents. The exhibit opens Thursday at the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery and runs through April 2. You can find more information here

Copyright 2016 KUSA


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