amber inclusion archive

hidden larger pterosaur in amber

Although the small pterosaur in amber is very clearly visible to the naked eye the larger pterosaur is not so clear or well preserved.

The picture below was inspired by incredible ct scan renderings performed by Professor Christopher Meehan, the Harvard scientist who published his discovery of the world's first vegetarian spider after much ridicule. When Romeo was first acquired there were a few people who knew that something perhaps more interesting existed in the feathery mess above Romeo. After establishing that there was a second potential parent of Romeo also trapped in the amber and seperating the wings of both the mother and father we identified the angle best to use ultra violet light to reveal the father. The head of the father to the top right is larger than his "son" Romeo. Several CT scans were made, one of the entire piece of amber and then a few close up scans for extra detail on some areas. The scan revealed the skull and teeth as well as the wing claws of the larger pterosaur which appeared as if it was reaching down to pick up the hatchling pterosaur. Microscopic examination led us to believe that although very well formed that the small pterosaur was a hatchling. Close examination under strong lights also managed to reveal the claws and teeth seen in the CT scans. Fluorescence in such ambers can also be a useful tool and indeed the picture below has been taken using ultra violet lighting which makes the features of the animal very clear helping both your eye or a camera to capture the actual scene beautifully. The small pterosaur is to the left and the head of the larger one is to the upper right facing forwards with its mouth open and wings open and slightly forwards as if reaching to grab the small pterosaur.
Cretaceous Bird in amber