STL Science Center

STL Science Center

03 March 2012

The Flying Wing

Straight from DK books we have probably one of the most bat-like and ugliest dinosaur illustrations ever to be utilized in any medium ever. The snarling face alone makes for an ugly and unhappy creature flying off the page at us. Also, the hands of this reptile, as well as the feet in all honestly, look a bit messed up. One hand has three digits plus the elongated fourth digit while the other hand is held at a completely different angle from the main edge of the wing and the third digit has either folded under the wing completely or has disappeared. Likewise, the right most foot seems to have no toes! The left foot has toes though, so perhaps we can chalk that up to an unfortunate darting past the mouth of the Allosaurus further down the page and a quick nip on the foot. The tail here is basically non-existent as well. This is not the truth. Anurognathus actually did have a little bit of a tail sticking out, just not too much of a tail. He had enough to get from point A to point B but, unlike the long tailed cousins he had (rhamphorhynchoids), Anurognathus did not need the long tail to stabilize himself or maneuver. He had some agile wings to maneuver about as needed instead.

©Dmitry Bogdanov
Dmitry Bogdanov's Anurognathus is an ugly little thing that almost looks even more like a bat, if that was possible. It is fantastic artwork and it is most certainly going to crunch and munch that beautiful moth/butterfly (I'm not an insect guy, sorry folks), but he's still an ugly little thing. The fingers and toes are better here, including the elongated fifth metatarsal which you can just barely see hanging down from the closest foot. I do like that aspect as well as the fact that the eye is quite large and probably has quite good sight; not that you would necessarily need great eyesight to see an insect larger than your head as is the case for this Anurognathus. That is one enormous insect. However, at approximately 40 grams in weight, this insect probably constituted a rather large meal for our small flying friend here.

©David Orr
My favorite picture that is not 100% scientifically correct is this Allosaurus and Anurognathus combination by David Orr. It's not even that it's not accurate, it's that it was drawn for fun and not study. As he has pointed out many times on his own entries, there just are not that many great dinosaur crafts out there.This one, however, is wonderful and pretty darn funny if you ask me. I love that he has the little feet extended just enough that you can see them flailing along behind the animal in its excessively happy state of diving on the Allosaurus. Crazy happy pterosaurs.

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