Thursday, January 28, 2010

The University of Portsmouth guide to building pterosaurs

My bread and water is currently supplied via a post at the University of Portsmouth. Officially, I'm listed as a research associate, but, in actuality, that doesn't go anywhere near explaining how cool my job is. In a nutshell, I'm part of a three man team, the other men being my UoP colleagues Dave Martill Bob Loveridge, that is working on a sort-of top-secret project that will result in the errection of a number of giant pterosaur models in London later this year. I'm sure to blog about it some more at some point but, in the mean time, the BBC has just posted the second of a series of films documenting us building our models (above still from the film shows Dave Martill and Bob Rushton discussing a digital version of our 10 m span flying animal frame*). This edition features Dave Martill, noted pterosaur expert, explaining the manufacture of the all-important 'skeletons' that sit inside the models to support our styrofam bodies. They superficially resemble actual pterosaur skeletons but, for obvious reasons, differ in many respects to meet structural demands and economise on materials. You can find the BBC's second film here and, for those who missed the first one, you can watch some handsome devil outlining the first stage of construction here.

*Has anyone noticed how the volume on the BBC video player goes all the way up to 11? Most video players, you know, will be playing at ten. You're on ten here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up, you're on ten on your video player. Where can you go from there? Where? 11. Exactly. One louder.


  1. So, Azhdarchids: pronounced ash-darkids, or ajh-darkids?

  2. I've always said 'ajh-dar-khids' myself, and I think I've heard most other folks say the same thing. What's more, some Turkish friends of mine recently told me that the Turkish word for 'dragon' is very similar to 'azhdarchid', and their pronounciation sounded more 'ajh' than 'ash'.

  3. Cool stuff! That's what I thought, but I figured it'd best to be sure.