What stands almost as tall as a giraffe, has hollow bones as thin as a playing card, and a 33-foot wing span?
No, it isn’t some imaginary creature, but rather an extinct pterosaur that lived during the Cretaceous. I feature its relatives in T-Rex Time Machine, my interactive fiction RPG. Soon, you’ll soon get to spend time with this fabulous critter plus a slew of dinosaurs, courtesy of me, Choice of Games, and the raging power of your imagination. In the meantime, you could read some of my other dinosaur stories or check out some other remarkable games from Choice of Games. To say that I am excited about unleashing it upon the world is a vast understatement.
One neat thing about the games produced by Choice of Games is that you can play them again and again by selecting different attributes for your character, even different names and genders.
The other day I remarked to someone as to how their day job designing games must be the coolest thing ever. In reply this person said, “Well you spend your time writing about dinosaurs. How awesome is that?” Yes, indeed, I need to stop and remind myself that I do have a totally fabulous day job writing about what I love.
Better yet is doing the field research. For example, a few weeks ago, I visited the pterosaur exhibit at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. As I gaped at the full-sized reproductions and fossil casts, and absorbed the explanations as to the differences between a pteranodon wing and that of a bird or a bat, I was grinning from ear to ear. It brought to mind my very first time staring up at a dinosaur fossil at age five. For me, prehistoric creatures are as stirring in 2016 as they were decades ago.
As for the above photo of me, I thought it was interesting to see that velociraptors weren’t particularly large. No doubt they made up for their small stature with lightning reflexes and those sickle claws on their feet.
While pterosaurs aren’t actually dinosaurs, they are, of course, some of the more remarkable creatures of the Mesozoic. Usually, we picture huge pterosaurs gliding overhead.
So how did they get around when they weren’t in the air? This question has been a controversial one for some time, as there are several possibilities ranging from belly-dragging lizard-like locomotion to walking on their hind limbs with their spines horizontal like a bipedal dinosaur, to a more erect bipedal stance. However, in recent years, there’s been some evidence that at least some of them may have been quadrupedal.
It’s been suggested that being quadrupedal may have helped them generate the oomph to leap into flight – no small matter for the largest species of pterosaurs that weighed upwards of 150 pounds.
Here are a couple of articles, with illustrations.