Pterosaurs in the 1950's

from the Dinosaur Collector 

updated 03/17/06

Pterosaurs can be divided into two groups the Rhamphorrhynchoidea and Pterodactyloidea. Rhamphorynchoids appear during the late Triassic Period, and died out around the end of the Jurassic Period. Rhamphorhynchus is the best known. The pterodactyls  split off from rhamphorynchoids in the Early Jurassic and become extinct at the end of the Cretaceous.  Pteranodon  was the best known. Pteranodon igens was staple flying reptile for Marx, MPC, Topps and the ROM toy sets. There were other Pteranodon with different shaped head gear.

A dramatic decline in pterosaur diversity, and the end of the Rhamphorhynchoid lineage at the end of the Jurassic coincided with the the earliest known fossils of birds. Rhamphorhynchus ( 'beak snout') from the Late Jurassic had a 5.75 feet wide wingspan with long, narrow jaws, sharp teeth pointing outwards, and a diamond-shaped flap of skin at the end of the very long, pointed tail.

rhamphorhynchus Linde

The rarest of the Linde figures Rhamphorhynchus. Picture and art work by Fred Hinojosa. There was one flying figure per company Ajax, Lido, Tim Mee and Miller also picked Rhamphorhynchus. It has largely been ignored by modern companies.

The posture of pterodactyls has been subject to great debate.  The orthodox idea being a four limbed sprawl verses the radical idea of a bipedal dinosaur like stance.  This would have allowed pterodactyls to scamper around like birds.  The most recent analysis of the hip structure seems to validate the orthodox view.  Too bad  the other made them seem a lot more lively.  The Marx grounded version dominated toy lines for years.  With MPC and Topps figures using the same pose






Recast Marx Pteranodon custom painted by Fred R. Hinojosa.

 At least some Pteranodons were covered with hair like pelts.  This would have provided the kind of insulation associated with warm blooded animals like birds and bats.  Pteranodons were originally portrayed as sluggish bat like gliders.  It was assumed they could not fly under there own power and spent there time on cliffs waiting for winds to glide on.  While they must have been adept at using up drafts as most large birds are today they commonly thought to have been capable of powered flight.

ROM Pteranodon custom painted by Fred R. Hinojosa.  The ROM ( Royal Ontario Museum ) produced a series of Mesozoic animals found in Canada.  These were in the Marx and Invicta styles of the time and were unpainted.  The unpainted figures were knocked off in Hong Kong except fro the Pteranodon and Ichthyosaurus.  Later the Wai Phong company did a set of painted copies and include the Pteranodon.

Pteranodon was a large animal living on the interior sea way that ran through Cretaceous North America.  Feeding on fish, squid and their relatives.  the crest has fascinated paleontologist who examined it and identified aerodynamic qualities.  It may have function as a rudder.  Given the variety of different crests among its relatives the original purpose was most likely a display device.

pteranodon Marx

Recast Marx Pteranodon, PHOTO AND ART WORK BY....Fred R Hinojosa.


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