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Lot 356: LARGE AND RARE PARTIAL PTEROSAUR SKELETON
May 16, 2010
Beverly Hills, CA, USALive Auction
LARGE AND RARE PARTIAL PTEROSAUR SKELETON
Custer Co., South Dakota
Pterosaurs ("winged lizard"), or pterodactyls ("winged finger") as they are often known, flourished during the late Cretaceous Period of North America, and represent the first vertebrates to make the transformation to flight. Strictly speaking, being airborne, they were not dinosaurs, but two further elements make the distinction plain: they had warm blood and although evidence of feathers has not been found, many were covered in a coat of hair. With hollow bones and delicately lightweight construction, their preservation in the fossil record is scarce; how rare, therefore, to find even a partial skeleton such as the specimen here, in such an evocative state of preservation and presentation. The excellent three-dimensionality of the bones is enhanced by their being prepared proud of the matrix, the upper part of the skull and the distinctive crest being completely freed for a dramatically lifelike effect. The skeleton comprises skull, rib and arm sections and three fingers with their distinctive curving claws. Lovely bone texture throughout is enhanced by a fine aged patina that stands out strongly from the dark gray matrix, presented on a pale gray plaster backing, approximately 96 x 64 inches.