Southern California

Pterosaurs Land at Natural History Museum Exhibit in Exposition Park

The winged reptiles of long ago are the focus of a soon-to-debut Natural History Museum exhibit.

Roderick Mickens/NHM

One of the Natural History Museum's sweetest annual festivals celebrates the critters living among us, from the coyotes of the canyons to the squirrels that skitter around our suburban streets.

Of course, if the Urban Nature Festival had been held 66 million years ago, we would have been celebrating not squirrels or coyotes but, very likely, pterosaurs, those flying reptiles of way, way, way back.

We humans weren't here 66,000,000 years ago, which is absolutely fine, for many reasons, principally that reptiles the size of cars were flying around (spoiler alert: cars also were not around).

But the Natural History Museum is bringing those long-ago winged beasties to us, today, through a brand-new exhibit ready to debut on Sunday, July 3.

"Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs" was organized by the American Museum of Natural History, so count on a caboodle of informative displays and interactive experiences, the kind of stuff that'll whisk you right back to the day when these stupendous sky soarers cast shadows on the land far below.

Nope, they weren't dinosaurs, so don't say they were (but, yes, dinos and pteros are "closely related"). The pterosaurs were, though, "the first vertebrate animals to evolve powered flight, diversifying into more than 150 species of all shapes and sizes spreading across the planet over a period of 150 million years."

And we think the microwave takes too long to warm our cup of cocoa.

Prepare to enjoy cool fossils at the exhibit, as well as interactive apps and other museum-neat to-dos, the kind of pursuits that shall lead you into "the mysterious world of the pterosaurs."

Fascinating questions regarding flight, food, and different types of pterosaurs will be answered.

So when will these prehistoric superstars fly away? Oct. 2 is the final day of the show.

Will knowing that you are walking beneath the same skies where pterodaustro and pteranodon once flew make you view our modern urban critters with new eyes? Surely, right?

Nature, you do bewitch, whether you're all about a giant reptile with wings or a wee Monarch butterfly alighting upon the lavender in our contemporary Southern California yard.

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