As I noted yesterday, one of the nice things about Chester Zoo was a series of signs that tried to place living animals in the context of their extinct relatives. In the case of the Tropical House that featured various reptiles and birds, this included mounts of archosaurs – this pterosaur, an Allosaurus skull and a Tyrannosaurus maxilla. Curiously though, these were sculpted and not casts.
As a result while the two theropod were quite good they were far from perfect and the Rhamphorhynchus was really quite odd. Some detail had been paid to things like the sternum and pelvis whereas the fingers and tail for example were really poor so it was an odd mix of accuracy and less-than-stellar work. What’s odd to me is why someone would do this – the zoo apparently bought them from some company and I can’t blame them for not knowing any better, but why were these created? There are good casts of pterosaurs and theropod bits available and they are not too expensive or hard to get hold of. I can’t help but think it would take a lot more time and effort (and thus cost) to produce these inaccurate reproductions than just to buy a replica which would of course be perfectly accurate.