Natural History

Natural History

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Articulated Pteranodon Skeleton

Late Cretaceous (Approximately 85 million years ago), Niobrara Formation, Smoky Hill Chalk Member, Logan County, Kansas

Auction Closed

July 26, 08:15 PM GMT


4,000,000 - 6,000,000 USD

Lot Details


Pteranodon longiceps

Late Cretaceous (Approximately 85 million years ago)

Niobrara Formation, Smoky Hill Chalk Member

Logan County, Kansas

Wingspan approximately 20 feet, body approximately 9 feet 9 inches in length from tip of skull to ends of hindlimb digits. Approximately 107 fossil bones, including nearly all of a wing (humerus, radius, ulna, carpi, metacarpi, pteroid, wing phalanges, and hand phalanges with claws); legs & feet (both femora, tibiae, fibulae, most of the bones of the right foot [pes] and one from the left); pelvis (nearly complete set of pelvic elements with fused sacrum [synsacrum]), scapulocoracoids, partial notarium, partial sternum, and partial ribs; nearly complete set of cervical vertebrae, multiple dorsal vertebrae, and multiple caudal vertebrae; partial mandible and areas of cranium. Those bones that were not found at the dig site were replaced with high-resolution 3D printed elements, primarily mirrored from the specimen itself.

Other that standard bone joining and stabilization, almost all of the original fossil bones remain essentially unrestored, meaning that artificial filler was not used to replace missing bone sections. This is especially ideal for scientific study and transparency of authenticity. The only exception to this is the skull, since 3D restoration was required for accurate and aesthetic display of the skull sections. For presentation purposes, the positions of certain bones were deliberately rotated and/or adjusted for display.

The articulated skeleton is displayed with wing bones outstretched in a soaring position, and is mounted on a custom bronze armature in 3 parts rigged for ceiling suspension. Judging from the overall size, it can be determined that the skeleton belonged to a fully mature adult individual, and most certainly male.

Provided together with the skeleton is a piece of original rock from the dig site and several small bone fragments that remained unmounted. Other than minor cleaning and stabilization, these pieces have been left as found and exhibit the delicate nature of their compressed structures. 

There are two species of Pteranodon, which are morphologically nearly identical except for the shape of the cranial crest; they are separated by geologic time, with the older species, Pteranodon sternbergi, having a more vertical crest, and its stratigraphic successor, Pteranodon longiceps, evolved a more backward-projecting crest. Based on its stratigraphic location, it has been determined that "Horus" is a Pteranodon longiceps

The skeleton is offered with full rights, and comes with full documentation certifying condition, authenticity, and legality of ownership.

Excavated in 2002 on private land, in the upper part of the Smoky Hill Chalk Member of the Niobrara Formation, in Logan County, Kansas

O. C. Marsh. 1876. "Notice of a new sub-order of Pterosauria." In: American Journal of Science, 11:507-509;

Mark P. Witton, Pterosaurs. Natural History, Evolution, Anatomy. Princeton and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013