During the June and July of 2010 I and a host of friends and colleagues based at, or affiliated with, the University of Portsmouth attended the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition. As you’ll know if you saw the articles and pictures I posted here at Tet Zoo, our research group set up and displayed the extremely popular Dragons of the Air exhibition. Devoted to the study of pterosaurs, it had an indoor component but also featured several life-sized, walking and flying azhdarchids.
Many people noted here and elsewhere that it would be neat, and appropriate, for these models to form part of a travelling exhibition. So, I just know that you want to ask… what has happened to the models since July 2010? The good news is that the exhibition did travel at least a bit, as it saw display in Rotterdam during the September of 2010. Andre Veldmeijer was the brains behind his venture: he was kind enough to share various images with Dave Hone, one of which you see here.
The two, big, walking azhdarchids then came back to the UK and went on display at the Royal Society’s out of London international venue, Chicheley Hall in Newport Pagnell, Milton Keynes. This is a stately home that now functions as a conference centre; it’s surrounded by extensive gardens, and this is where we currently find our two giant azhdarchids. They’re free to roam, to scare visitors, and (to paraphrase Dave Martill) “to glean a living from frogs and squirrels”.
Is this where our beloved azhdarchids will end their days? Pacing the grounds of a Georgian Grade I listed building, just outside downtown Milton Keynes? Probably not. Plans have been afoot to exhibit them at a new venue, though I’m not sure what the latest news is on that. I just wanted to use this post as an opportunity to use the new photos of the azhdarchids that Dave kindly supplied. It would be brilliant if the exhibition could travel again – to anyone interested, remember that transport costs are understandably high.
One disappointing thing about the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition is worth saying while I’m here: it concerns the appearance of our pterosaurs in the Atlantic Productions pterosaur documentary Flying Monsters 3D. Or, rather, the lack of appearance. Despite the putting aside of a whole day for filming, and several interviews between Dave Martill, Mark Witton and David Attenborough [Attenborough and Witton shown here], essentially none of the material made the final cut. Oh well, such are the perils of working with people in TV-land. As you’ll know if you’ve read the lengthy review of Flying Monsters 3D at the pterosaur.net blog, at least some pterosaur workers are not exactly happy with the finished produced. I haven’t seen it, but I’ve learnt not to hold high expectations for CG prehistoric animal TV shows.
Anyway, thanks to Dave Martill for passing on the Chicheley Hall images you see here.
For previous Tet Zoo articles on azhdarchids and other pterosaurs, see…
- The Wellnhofer pterosaur meeting, part I
- It could look a giraffe in the eyes
- The Wellnhofer pterosaur meeting, part II
- The Wellnhofer pterosaur meeting, part III
- Terrestrial stalking azhdarchids, the paper
- Shemhazai and other flightless pterosaurs
- Come back Lank, (nearly) all is forgiven
- Pterosaurs breathed in bird-like fashion and had inflatable air sacs in their wings
- A month in dinosaurs (and pterosaurs): 4, flaplings and head-sails anew
- A month in dinosaurs (and pterosaurs): 5, pterosaurs vs birds, or not… or is it?
- Darwinopterus, the remarkable transitional pterosaur
- Giant pterosaurs invade London, Summer 2010
- Pterosaurs, err, indoors (the Summer 2010 exhibition)
- The Cretaceous birds and pterosaurs of Cornet: part II, the pterosaurs
- A spectacular new fossil provides insight on the sex lives of pterosaurs, part I
- A spectacular new fossil provides insight on the sex lives of pterosaurs, part II: what it all means for eggs, nests and the behaviour of babies