STL Science Center

STL Science Center

20 June 2015

Heinrich's Pterosaur

©Heinrich Harder
Some times the classics are almost correct and do not need a great deal of revamping. Beautiful as the newest illustrations of Pteranodon appear some times, the original depictions of Heinrich Harder are actually quite spot on for the presently accepted morphologies of Pteranodon. The wings, for instance, are fairly appropriate, though debates probably still range over the placement of the patagium between the legs and tail. The small head crest would most likely indicate that these individuals, if they are Pteranodon longiceps, females. The larger head crests would indicate males, as Pteranodon longiceps is considered to be sexually dimorphic with males having larger bodies overall, including the crests on the head. Not seeing different body sizes in these animals we can only make an educated guess based on that shorter crest. Harder, however, may have been illustrating these Pteranodon based only on the fragmentary evidence of the fossils that had and have been collected throughout the American West.

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