Find a complete skeleton of a pteranodon and become very rich!

Although there are certain criteria to meet such as authenticity, quality and ownership rights, if you are looking for the bones of an ancient flying reptile such as the pteranodon you might become very wealthy very quickly because one pteranodon partial skeleton – but the most complete skeleton of its type ever found – has been valued at $6 million. It is up for sale at a Sotheby’s auction.

Pteranodon. Image: MikeB. The chart at the base is from Wikipedia. The illustration above is by Canva (licensed to me).

It would have lived 83 million years ago. This pteranodon skeleton was found in Kansas, USA. The pteranodon is a species of pterosaur. This particular species of pterosaur glided over the sea between the Rockies and the Appalachian Mountains hunting for fish according to The Times.

The skeleton’s wingspan is 20 feet and it is currently situated on the third floor gallery of Sotheby’s in Manhattan.

The high price tag is because of its great rarity. The bones are very fragile as they are hollow and very old! They needed to be hollow to minimise its weight to make the creature a more efficient flyer.

This particular skeleton was found in good condition. It size and quality of preservation are important in assessing its value.

The pteranodon had a huge mouth with a sharp pointed beak. They had a crest on the back of their head. It is believed it was used to steer the reptile in flight. The rib cage is about the size and shape of a large watermelon from which the enormous wings protrude. The creature had huge feet and long splayed toes with – it is believed – webbing in between them.

The pteranodon skeleton was found in a chalk outcrop on the Smoky Hill River in Northwest Kansas. The site was by the seaside during the late Cretaceous period.

This particular skeleton was found in 2002. They believe it was male but they can’t be sure. The species lived in roosts. The females lived together in large harems.

The auction house have been very careful about its provenance. They said that they wanted to see the GPS and where it was found and they want deeds to prove the titleholder of the land. And they checked where each piece of the fossil was found to make sure that they were looking at a single pterosaur.

Sometimes you can work out those parts of the skeleton which are missing by the bits which are in good condition. This is described as a relatively complete skeleton.

In the case of this pteranodon, one of the wings is complete while the left wing was constructed using a 3D printer. The printer was also used to help reconstruct parts of the spine and rib cage. The crest at the back of the head was “inferred from what is known of the species”.

They believe that it is one of the most complete skeletons found and that this particular reptile lived in a river hunting fish. The jaw is filled with small pointy teeth and an expert, decided that the animal would be strong enough to “rip your calf off”.

It is expected that the specimen will become part of a museum collection and if not, the buyer will loan it out to museum for the public to enjoy. There are individuals who are fascinated by prehistoric animals and retain a “childlike wonder” about them.

The quoted words are from Cassandra Hatton, a specialist at Sotheby’s

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Post Category: Prehistoric animals