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Want to learn more about the largest flying animals of all time? For this event we take you through a 150 million year tour of the pterodactyls, learn how they could fly and see what they can teach us about today! Come along for this prehistoric night for the chance to win some prizes!
Pterodactyls at Dusk: Life and death in an ancient sky
Dr Brian Andres (PhD in Geology)
The pterodactyls are the most successful but also the most extinct flying creatures. Despite being the first bony animals to fly and ruling the ancient skies for longer than any other group, they totally disappeared along with their dinosaur cousins at the end of the Mesozoic Era. We will take a 150-million-year tour of the ups and downs of pterodactyls to examine how they learned to fly, survive natural disasters, become the largest flying animals of all time, and ultimately die out to see what lessons pterodactyls can teach us about today.
Building bodies for flight: the unusual example of the pterodactyl
Rachel Frigot (Associate Teaching Fellow in Anatomy)
Did you know, bird skeletons are the same weight as mammal ones, but can resist much bigger forces? How about that bats get 12% of their oxygen from their wings? What does this mean for pterosaurs, who got much, much bigger than either? Pterodactyls had membrane wings, like bats, but were more closely related to birds, even though they learned to fly completely separately. This talk looks at how pterosaurs became the most specialised fliers of all time, how they built their skeletons, met their oxygen needs and moved on land and in the air.