Pterosaurs of the AMNH pt 1 – Solnhofen

Recently I talked about the slow diffusion of Solnhofen specimens that have made their way to institutions around the world. I’ve had a few good leads and comments already which is nice, and reader Steve Cohen was kind enough to send in some photos of the various specimens and mounts at the legendary AMNH. While this material is well known, most of the images I’ve seen date back to the 70′s and photocopies of scanned black and white photos are quite simply pretty low resolution.

My thanks to Steve for these and there’s more, non-Solnhofen stuff coming tomorrow. For the non-pterosaur taxonomists reading this, that’s a rather nice Rhamphrhynchus at the top. Below we have small Ctenochasma and then a really nice and complete Pterodactylus with a near-perfect counterplate.


10 Responses to “Pterosaurs of the AMNH pt 1 – Solnhofen”


  1. 1 Robert A. Sloan 27/03/2012 at 8:25 am

    Beautiful specimens! Especially that last one, it’s spectacular.

  2. 2 Kilian Hekhuis 27/03/2012 at 10:49 am

    Indeed, though it shouldn’t be necessary in this day of age to have blurry pictures, provided the specimens are accessible within a 1m range.

  3. 3 steve cohen 27/03/2012 at 1:12 pm

    Apologies for the blurry photos. Many of the specimens are behind glass so I didn’t want to use a flash.

    I had a relatively slow lens on the camera, the ISO was cranked up to 800/1600 but I still had to shoot wide-open with a shutter speed <1/30 sec.

    Unfortunately, once cropped down, the hand jitter is obvious.

  4. 4 Kilian Hekhuis 27/03/2012 at 4:00 pm

    Apologies excepted :). I’ve had only one experience with photographing (casts of) specimens, at a certain well-known Pterosaur exhibition in Rotterdam. Using a relatively crappy and cheap camera, I got a reasonable result (see here: http://www.hekhuis.nl/tmp/SUC57724_small.jpg) so I assumed it was always that easy :).

  5. 5 Kilian Hekhuis 27/03/2012 at 4:01 pm

    Apologies for the smileys. Didn’t know WordPress made pictures out of them.

  6. 6 Zhen 27/03/2012 at 10:09 pm

    If I knew you wanted to see those specimens, I could have filmed them more closely, because I was at the AMNH a few months ago filming.

  7. 7 steve cohen 27/03/2012 at 11:30 pm

    Dave; the AMNH signage for the second image lists the specimen as AMNH 5147, Pterodactylus elegans.

    • 8 David Hone 28/03/2012 at 8:32 am

      Yep I know, and Chris Bennett redesignated P. elegans as a juvenile Ctenochasma back in 1996. I checked the reference and his dataset based on Wellnhofer 1970 and he does include this specimen in that revision, so i was following that. Understandably museums don;’t keep up with every revision – I’ve found rhamphorhynchoid material listed as Pterodactylus more than once.


  1. 1 Pterosaurs of the AMNH pt 2 – Pteranodon « Dave Hone's Archosaur Musings Trackback on 28/03/2012 at 8:37 am
  2. 2 Yet more hadrosaur heads « Dave Hone's Archosaur Musings Trackback on 05/05/2012 at 9:16 am

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