ASHLAND, Ore. — Before about 65 million years ago, the sky was not the domain of birds—or at least, nothing like the birds we know today. Instead, the ancient skies were dominated by pterosaurs, "winged lizards."
On April 28, ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum will take patrons back in time to those heady days of prehistory with their brand new exhibit Pterosaurs: Ancient Rulers of the Sky.
Pterosaur facts from PTEROS:
- Pterosaurs were not dinosaurs, but close relatives—flying reptiles. Commonly known as "pterodactyls," that name refers to a specific species or family of pterosaurs.
- Pterosaurs were the first flying vertebrates (creatures with backbones) in history.
- Furry filaments or "pycnofibers" found on pterosaur fossils suggest that some of them may have been warm-blooded.
- The wings of pterosaurs were not just thin membranes of skin, but were made up of tiny muscle fibers called "actinofibrils." These fibers could shift with changing air currents—and are some of the most inventive natural adaptations known today.
- Pterosaurs endured through the entirety of the dinosaur age, with a wide variety of lifestyles. They were fruit-eaters, fishers, filter-feeders, and even giraffe-sized terrestrial stalkers with skulls longer than a man is tall.
- The smallest pterosaur was the size of a sparrow, while the biggest had wingspans as great as 10 meters wide.
The Pterosaurs exhibit explores the age of many "winged lizard" species who existed from the Late Triassic through the Late Cretaceous Periods of the Mesozoic Era (approximately 228 to 66 million years ago).
A map of the Earth's landmasses during the Late Jurassic Period—which fell between the Triassic and Cretaceous Periods.
Built by the Museum's own design and build team, the exhibit will feature both original designs and fossil replicas. Eight interactive stations are planned to educate visitors on a variety of pterosaur topics—when and where they lived, how they moved and ate, and the sheer diversity of the many pterosaur species.
"This kind of creative effort that engages learners of all ages in the wonders of science is what our Museum is all about," said Steve Utt, President of ScienceWorks’ Board of Directors.
In addition to the exhibit, ScienceWorks recently announced their new hours. The Museum will now be open consistently during all 12 months of the year—Tuesday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Those hours used to fluctuate based on the season.
“Our new, year-round schedule will make it easier for our visitors to remember and plan around,” said Erin Scott, Marketing Manager at ScienceWorks.
Mondays (including many holidays) will see ScienceWorks continue to accommodate school field trips, or occasionally open to the public for school holidays such as President's Day.
A special preview of the Pterosaurs exhibit—open to Museum Members and the media—will take place on Friday, April 27 from 7 - 9 p.m. Attendees will have the ability to experience the exhibit and enjoy pterosaur-, geology- and paleontology-themed activities. The Member & Media Preview is free to those with current ScienceWorks memberships and will also feature party snacks, drinks, and live music.
The Event Sponsor for the Pterosaurs exhibit is Lithia 4Kids, which donates to organizations that support the needs of children and families. The Media-TV sponsor of the Pterosaurs exhibit is KDRV NewsWatch 12.