Category Archives: News and Exhibits

Exhibits and other news about the Imaginary Pterosaur project

Imaginary pterosaurs in Rio

The Imaginary Pterosaurs have just returned from a trip to Rio, where they were on display during the Rio Ptero 2013: International Symposium on Pterosaurs, at the National Museum of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. It was my first pterosaur symposium and also where I had the opportunity to examine real pterosaur fossils for the first time (so far, I had only seen photos). I also had the opportunity to meet many of the researchers whose articles and books have inspired me, and which I have used as sources to make and improve my models. Here are some photos and a brief non-technical overview of the event.

I didn’t only take my art to the Rio symposium. I also acted as a curator and displayed the pterosaur art of Sergey Krasovskiy. I printed some large ones which you can see here on the box where most of the pterosaurs are safely packed.


This pterosaur box was lost for 24 hours in the airport during my last trip. It was hard to find since it looked just like a plain box. This time I decided to paint something on it. In case they lose it, it shouldn’t be very hard to locate. Almost all the pterosaurs are in these boxes. There are four skulls and skeletons in the big box, the Anhanguera is in that smaller one (which I carry as hand luggage) and I packed the Tupandactylus with my other checked luggage (I had to slice it it three parts, though).


After spending some 1000 reais (~500 US dollars) to take my pterosaurs to the Dinosaur symposium in Minas, last month, I had to spend a similar amount to register, buy tickets and other expenses for the Rio conference. I haven’t worked much in the field where most of my income comes from (computer programming) since I have dedicated a lot of time to this art. As a result I am currently low on funds, so I decided to make some T-shirts and other art that I could sell at the symposium. These are the T-shirts I planned:


Way too expensive. I had to make them black and white, otherwise they would cost too much and nobody would buy them. I made 30. Sold 20, which was just enough to cover their cost (I gave away 4 so I still have 5 left, besides the one I kept). I made some acrylic painted paper pterosaurs which I sold half and gave away the others. I also sold some of the prints, but it wasn’t enough to cover the printing costs. So my business strategy didn’t work out very well, but it was worth it (I’m still selling the 5 shirts :)). Many thanks to everyone who bought these products!


By the way, the paper craft plans for those pterosaurs will be published here in PDF as soon as I have time to finish them.

My pterosaur skulls and paper models were on display on a table and the Tupuxuara was assembled in flight position (for the first time). I would like to thank Christopher Bennett, Darren Naish, Nathan Carroll, Ashley Poust, David Unwin and Felipe Pinheiro for pointing out inaccuracies in the assembly, which I was able to fix.

Below: me and Felipe Pinheiro while I was assembling the Tupuxuara (photo by Samuel Lima).


Here is my Tupuxuara leonardii based on photos of the Iwaki specimen (ICMF 1502).


My Tupandactylus skull (based on the holotype and other sources). Photo by Paulo Marcio Esper.


Anhanguera, Dsungaripterus, and the undescribed thalassodromid that was for sale at PaleoDirect. Photo by Paulo Marcio Esper.


Here are some pictures of the paleoart exhibition. Besides my sculptures and Sergey Krasovskiy’s pictures, there were also some fantastic sculptures, drawings and paintings by Maurilio Oliveira. This is his Thalassodromeus (photo by Paulo Marcio Esper):


And this is one that was on display (which I found in his Facebook page).


Maurilio was also drawing pterosaurs during the event (photo by Samuel Lima):


You can see that I hung the skeleton with fishing line. It now weighs 950 grams (it gets lighter every day).


I didn’t assemble the Guidraco skeleton, as you can see, but I spread its bones on the table.



Here is view showing most of the exhibit. Sergey’s paintings are on the left and Maurilio’s are on the right.


On the last day there were also two paintings by Paulo Márcio Esper (his first pterosaur drawings). I don’t have pictures from his exhibit, but I found this one in his Facebook page:


I didn’t spend much time near my art since I was very interested in attending all the sessions. It was a small event. There were about 50 people. I still have a lot to learn before I can participate in many of the discussions there, but it was very instructive and it was definitely worth all the effort to be there.

Here are some pictures. This is Christopher Bennett discussing about the structure of the pterosaur wing (the Rhanphorincus Zittel wing).


David Unwin, the author of one of my favorite books on pterosaurs.


And Darren Naish, whom I knew previously from his blog Tetrapod Zoology.


Here is a news broadcast on local TV (in Portuguese) that was recorded a couple of hours before the beginning of the event (I hadn’t even finished assembling the Tupuxuara).

On the first night we had the opportunity to visit the pterosaurs and dinosaurs at the National Museum, where the opening cocktail would happen (the symposium was actually in the auditorium of another building, at the botanical garden of the museum). The museum is situated in the building below which was the residence of the royal family of Portugal from 1801 to 1821. It is situated in the middle of a beautiful park called Quinta da Boa Vista.


Here is a classic scene from the Cretaceous of Brazil: an Irritator attacking an Anhanguera. This is actually based on fossil evidence: a tooth from this dinosaur was found in an anhanguerid cervical vertebra.


This is a view of the dinosaur hall. Look up! There is a giant pterosaur (Tropeognathus mesembrinus) above you.


A very nice cast of a Tupandactylus imperator.


The holotype of the Tupandactylus is not at the National Museum, but in the Museum of Earth Sciences where we had the second after meeting cocktail.


When you enter the museum there is a large picture of a Thalassodromeus sethi pterosaur skimming for fish painted on the floor (by Maurilio Oliveira).



The museum is fascinating. Unfortunately my camera batteries died, and so did my phone and I was unable to get a picture of the Tupandactylus. (But I caught this dinosaur sleeping in its egg just before the batteries died.)


Unfortunately some presentations were cancelled since the speakers didn’t make it to Rio. But then I, who was not scheduled to speak, was offered the opportunity to do so. Many thanks to the organizers of the event for this opportunity to share my experiences in making my pterosaur skeleton sculptures. I have published the presentation here before, but I updated it recently. I will later publish it here for whoever wants to download it. Photo below by Samuel Lima.


The event lasted three days. On the last day we had the celebration dinner in Urca with a fantastic view of the Botafogo bay and the Pão de Açucar. Pictures? Nope. I forgot the camera this time 😦

On Sunday some people went on a city tour, and others spent the day at the museum examining fossils. Since I had never touched pterosaur fossils before, it was my opportunity. There were several holotypes to see, including Thalassodromeus sethi (pictures below), Cearadactylus atrox, Tapejara wellnhoferi, and others. Here are Darren Naish and David Unwin examining the Thalassodromeus.



I made a lot of pictures of the Anhanguera blittersdorfi skull. It might be one of my next projects.


After that I packed everything and free at last enjoyed an incredible walking tour around Ipanema, Lapa and the old centre at night, with Nathan Carroll and Ashley Poust (from the US), hosted by Lilian Cruz (from the National Museum).

And that’s it. It was a great week. Thanks to Alexander Kellner, Juliana Sayão, Taissa Rodrigues, Fabiana Costa, Maurilio Oliveira, João Carlos Ferreira and all the others who organized and contributed to the success of the event. Special thanks to Elaine Machado, Lilian Cruz and Kamila Bandeira for helping me out with the exhibition, and to Samuel Lima and Paulo Marcio Esper for the photos. Please forgive me if I forgot anyone.

On Monday some flew north to the field trip at the Araripe plateau, and I flew back to São Paulo with my pterosaurs.



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Presentation at the Dinosaur Symposium

The 1st Brazilian Dinosaur Symposium did more than just provide an exhibition space for paleoartists. They also invited us to speak about experiences, techniques, to show and discuss our work in sessions that filled the main auditorium. These are the slides from my presentation about this project (focusing on the Tupuxuara skeleton which was assembled during the symposium).


If you don’t have a Scribd account (or if you never uploaded anything there) you might not be able to download it (only browse online) unless you pay. But you can also downnload it from here (PDF with 180 MB).

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Filed under News and Exhibits, Pterosaur #5: Tupuxuara

Pterosaurs at the 1st Brazilian Dinosaur Symposium

The Imaginary Pterosaur family has just returned from a week among the dinosaurs! Although pterosaurs are not dinosaurs, they were invited and were a major attraction at the Dinosaur Exhibit that took place during the 1st Brazilian Dinosaur Symposium, at the campus of Federal University of Uberlândia, in Ituiutaba, Minas Gerais, Brazil.

Tupuxuara was assembled in a “taking off” position, and the others had their skulls on display. The skeletons attracted a lot of attention, specially among the kids. Here are some pictures from the event.

This is Tupuxuara being assembled before the opening of the event.


Finished. Now it just needs a place to place its claws.


Some pictures from the opening of the symposium and paleoart exhibit.

opening2 dinoexpo opening

Here is the imaginary pterosaur family at the exhibit.


I had to use lot’s of strings because of the wind.


The exhibit was in an open area.


There were many very young curious visitors every day.

kids4 kids1 kids2 kids5 all

Guidraco has a body, but only the head was on display at the Symposium. I’m currently fixing the wings (and making it more accurate) for the next event.


My toothless dsungaripterid has now teeth! It has less than it should but I can now finally call it a Dsungaripterus!


I had to slice part of Tupandactylus’s crest so I could transport it (and not pay a lot more for that), but I reattached it (you can barely notice where I cut it).


Here is Anhanguera.


And Tupuxuara preparing to take flight.


There were several other artists displaying their work. Guilherme Gehr painted the canvas below (unfortunately I didn’t have the best light – the actual colors are much better than it looks in the photo).


Rodolfo Nogueira makes incredibly realistic paintings, but all my pictures of his gallery turned out very bad because of the light. I won’t post any here but do click the link because his site is definitely worth a visit!

This is the gallery of Vitor Silva


And this one is by Rafael Albo.


(My photographs of these galleries are very bad. Please visit their websites!)

On the last day, we went hunting for some fossils.

field3  field5

We digged, digged and digged. Some found bone fragments. I found funny rocks 🙂


But we did find other creatures along the way 🙂


Last day. Tupuxuara was unassembled, and the bones were on display during the closing of the event.


Then it was packed to fly home. But… the package disappeared! They lost it somewhere in the airport. I left the airport with only Anhanguera (which was my hand luggage), hoping the air carrier would quickly find the others.

Fortunately, some four hours later they found the box and it was safely delivered to me. It seems that they were mistakenly taken to the international cargo section. They probably wanted to leave the country!

Our next trip will be to Rio de Janeiro for the international pterosaur conference: Rio Ptero 2013 in a month.


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A new family member

The Imaginary Pterosaur family will soon have a new member: Tupandactylus imperator. Anhanguera’s body is also on the way. These are the skulls of the three imaginary pterosaurs so far (on a 1.00 x 1.20 m sheet of XPS foam):


Anhanguera has also gained new front (rostrum) teeth (it looks a lot more like the fossil now), and brain cavities; I also improved the shape of the head and the eye cavities.

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Filed under News and Exhibits, Pterosaur #1: Guidraco, Pterosaur #2: Anhanguera, Pterosaur #3: Tupandactylus

A new exhibit for Guidraco

The exhibit The Imaginary Pterosaur was transferred to a new museum, for only four days (SESC Centro, Campina Grande, PB, Brazil) during a multicultural event that happens during Carnival. It is flying over a garden facing the audience. After this exhibit it will travel back to São Paulo.

exhibit 1

Image credits:

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The pterosaur is back to the museum


From January 18th to February 8th the Imaginary Pterosaur can be seen at Museu de Arte Assis Chateaubriand (MAAC) in Campina Grande, PB (Brazil).


Besides the skeleton, the exhibit also includes educational panels about pterosaurs and paleontology, and a section with photos showing the process used to build the model out of foam.


Visitors also get a free cut-out-your-own-pterosaur kit!

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Filed under News and Exhibits, Pterosaur #1: Guidraco

Mustache & os Apaches starring Guidraco!

A videoclip from the Brazilian band Mustache & os Apaches shows a full-sized pterosaur skeleton hanging on the wall. It was recorded during the Serrinha Art Festival and The Imaginary Pterosaur was used as part of the scenery.


Filed under News and Exhibits, Pterosaur #1: Guidraco