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New pterosaur exhibition

New pterosaur exhibition

A new pterosaur exhibition (Drachen der Lufte) has just opened for 7 months 
(09.06. 2000 - 07.01.2001) in the Jura-Museum, Eichstätt, Bavaria.

The exhibition, organised by Gunther Viohl and the largest ever devoted 
entirely to pterosaurs, fills two rooms and has more than 40 real specimens on 
display. These include some very good Holzmaden specimens, numerous Solnhofen 
pterosaurs, some spectacular new finds from the Crato Formation of Brazil and 
two superb casts of pterosaur tracks from the Late Jurassic of Crayssac, 
France. The display items are complimented by numerous, elegant, poster-sized 
explanations, often with beautiful full colour photos and reconstructions that 
illustrate all aspects of pterosaur biology. In addition, there are numerous 
casts and models, including the wing of Quetzalcoatlus northropi and a very 
cute fuzzy little Pterodactylus. 

Highlights of the exhibition include the 'dark-wing' Rhamphorhynchus, one of 
the best preserved Solnhofen specimens ever found which has a main wing 
membrane that can be clearly seen to attach to the hind limb as far as the 
ankle (oh yes, indeedy!), the superb Crayssac tracks with foot print 
impressions that match pterosaur feet so perfectly, even down to the exact 
outline of the foot webs, that I wonder how we (including me) ever doubted that 
Pteraichnus was pterosaurian, and the astonishing Crato tapejarid with the 
mother of all head crests. 

If all this still hasn't tempted you into making a visit might I also point out 
that the main exhibition in the Jura-Museum is undoubtedly the best anywhere on 
the fauna and flora of the Solnhofen Limestone and even includes a real 
specimen of Archaeopteryx. The whole lot is housed in the Schloss 
Willibaldsburg, a splendid castle set on a hill top overlooking the ancient and 
very pretty town of Eichstatt (the 'Ammoniten', a bar-restaurant with a 30 foot 
well in one of the side rooms, is recommended). In addition to lots of smaller 
museums also featuring Solnhfen fossils, the Altmuhl valley and surrounding 
countryside is speckled with lush meadows and forests full of wildlife, quite a 
lot of which features in the local cuisine. 

Eichstatt can be easily visited by train from Munich (don't forget to ask for 
Eichstatt Stadt, reached by a ten minute train ride from the main station which 
is a little way out of town). The museum is in the strikingly obvious large 
white castle on the top of the hill, a fifteen minute walk up through the wood. 
The restaurant immediately before the museum is open all day so you can sip ice 
cold beer while listening to warblers singing just below the terrace. 
International visitors should arrange to fly into Munich - you can buy train 
tickets directly in the airport and get a train from downstairs all the way to 
Eichstatt (change in Munich). 

For further information on Eichstaat try http://www.eichstaett.de, or call 
tourist information on 08421 98 800.



PS June temperatures are hitting record highs here in Berlin (38+ predicted for 
today) - so I'm off to chill out in the Knochen Kellar. 

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If you know of other lists whose members may be interested in this exhibition 
please pass the message on. 

David M Unwin
Curator for Fossil Reptiles and Birds
Institut fur Palaontologie
Zentralinstitut der Humboldt-Universitat zu Berlin
Invalidenstrasse 43
D-10115 Berlin

Email: david.unwin@rz.hu-berlin.de

Tel. numbers:   

0049 30 2093 8577 (office)
0049 30 2093 8862 (department secretary)
0049 30 2093 8868 (fax)