Sunday, June 7, 2009

Pterosaur Restorations!

There have been a LOT of questions on this blog about Pterosaur wings and appearance (and a lot of opinions being thrown around), so at Craig's (or should I say Traumador's) request, I've rounded up some pics of pterosaurs to give you all some ideas for your submissions to the Pterosaur gallery. For your artistic inspiration, Paleo-fans and ArtEvolved crew members..........

...Here are some restorations of Pterosaurs over the ages - some accurate, some..... well, to quote Borat, NOT SO MUCH! Everyone seems to have different theories on how Pterosaurs looked, particularly their walking posture and where the wings attached - and there's a wide range of interpretations of the fossil evidence. So I'm posting the whole gamut of them here, and you be the judge. Here are some of the most memorable ones:

A very early engraving of Rhamphorhynchus from the Victorian Era (I can't remember who the artist was, and it's very outdated today - but this was a very popular image in its time - though ironically the head is more like Pterodactylus).

Rhamphorhynchus by Charles Whymper (lol that's a lot of silent h's)

Pteranodon by Heinrich Harder

Rhamphorhynchus by Zdnek Burian. Historically, the "bat-winged" model of ankle-attached wings was very popular as with all of the above images.

Dimorphodon by Gareth Monger

Pterodactylus kochi by John Conway, in a more recent free-legged configuration

Pteranodon stenbergi by Michael Skrepnick (at least a semi-free-legged configuration)

Ornithocheirus with hypothetical "bat wing" model (wings connecting to ankles). Source: Walking with Dinosaurs TV series.

Quetzalcoatlus northropi and the Chicxulub impact by Douglas Henderson (look closely and you'll see the legs are free of the wings).

Anhanguera piscator by John Conway - a prime example of the free-legged model

Tupandactylus imperator by Mark Witton - quadrupedal "bat" model

Peteinosaurus (by an unknown artist) - a cross between hip attachment and the "flying squirrel" model sometimes proposed for rhamphorhynchoids.

Ornithocheiroid pterosaurs by Mauricio Anton (I'm not sure of all the species, but the one on the left looks like Anhanguera or Criorhynchus, while the one on the right is clearly something else.)

Pteranodon models (life size, sculptor unknown) with knee-attached wing membranes based on recent research. The legs look like they have some odd wing-wetsuit on... but overall pretty elegant.

Anurognathus by Mark Witton. Note the bat-like extension of the wings all the way to the ankles.

Four Cretaceous Pterosaurs by John Bindon - Clockwise from top: Tapejara, Tupuxuara, Ornithocheirus, Anhanguera. This painting follows the hip-attached or knee-attached wings model

Zhenjiangopterus linhaiensis by John Conway. (*it's ALIIIIIIVE!*)

Thalassodromeus (by an unknown artist, though the style reminds me of Bindon's)

Pteranodon ingens (female) skeletal by Gregory S. Paul (in Paul, 1991: The Many Myths, Some Old, Some New, of Dinosaurology). Paul supports the theory that the short tail of Pterodactyloids was not totally lost because it was retained as an attachment point for the wing membranes.

A great reference for drawing takeoff poses and modern restorations with wings NOT attaching to the legs.

Quetzalcoatlus northropi by Gregory S. Paul (due to the shutdown of the "Unofficial Gregory S. Paul gallery" fansite, I was only able to find this odd green-tinted copy. I really wish there were a book with more of his art in it.)

Yes indeed, a true color reproduction of a Gregory S. Paul painting - a breeding pair of Quetzalcoatlus northropi defend their nest from a Daspletosaurus. The original of the previous picture showed them with the same colors. This painting gives a good idea of the sheer size of the biggest pterosaurs.

Pterodaustro by Mark Witton. There are very few decent restorations of Pterodaustro, and regardless of personal opinions on wing structure, this is definitely one of the best.

Pteranodon and Hatzegopteryx by Mark Witton
(here we see "bat-like" full ankle attachment, which would have optimized wing surface area, but severely limited the range of movement on all limbs when walking)

As no definitive proof of how the membranes attached has been verified, ALL of the more recent images above (i.e. anything newer than those outdated Victorian-era engravings) involve some guesswork and all of them have to be taken with a pinch of salt ... but they all agree on the basic morphology of EVERYTHING ELSE about pterosaurs. So have fun drawing them.

: shhhhh....Mark Witton, Greg Paul, and all the "experts" don't want me to tell you this... but this is what pterosaurs REALLY looked like (:P)

``******+**** <> ****+******``

Just kidding. Well, there's my cheesy little unicode Pteranodon! lolz. Seriously though, don't draw them like this.

AAAAAAND.... for those of you REALLY curious as to how most people would not draw a pterosaur, I give you....

Koseman and Conway's Pterodactylus inspired by David Peters' research

[The caption that accompanied this piece has been removed by ART Evolved's Administrators due to the editorial commentary causing offense to the artist in question.
Our apologies to David Peters for any offense this commentary may have caused him.. However in the defense of our member who made these comments, they were not derogatory of David Peters as an individual, but rather just this piece of art itself and the scientific logic behind it.
We have changed it as per Mr. Peters request in the interest of resolving this disagreement of opinion in a civil fashion. As it was of a scientific nature, it goes beyond the art mandate of ART Evolved, and we are not wishing, nor capable of resolving it adequately on this site.
We thank Mr. Peters' for his interest in ART Evolved and hope he will consider contributing more to the site in the future.]