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Dragons of the Air: an Account of Extinct Flying Reptiles


EVER since the study of fossil remains was taken up in earnest, pterodactyles, or, as the author elects often to call them, ornithosaurs, have attracted the deepest attention on the part of anatomists on account of the many puzzling problems connected with their organisation and affinities, while from their weird form, peculiar attributes, and the huge dimensions attained by some of their later representatives they have appealed more strongly to popular interest than is the case with many of their extinct contemporaries. Among all the diligent students of the organisation of these strange creatures (so far as it can be worked out from their bones alone) none has been more constant or more persistent than Prof. H. G. Seeley, who commenced his investigations when a student at Cambridge during the late sixties. At that time the so-called coprohite-works in the Cambridge Greensand were in full swing; and the rich, albeit much broken, material thus obtained afforded opportunities for studying the structural details of pterodactyle bones in a manner impossible when dealing with the embedded skeletons of the smaller forms from the lithographic limestone of the Continent. Of these opportunities—both as regards study and collecting— Prof. Seeley availed himself to the full; and from that time to this, as occasion presented itself he has, we believe, continued faithful to his favourite study. During the latter years of Prof. Sedgwick's tenure of the Woodwardian Chair at Cambridge, Prof. Seeley delivered a series of lectures at various centres—including the Royal Institution—on pterodactyles; and the present volume purports to be a reissue of these lectures in an expanded form, with such revision as has been rendered advisable by the progress of investigation.

Dragons of the Air: an Account of Extinct Flying Reptiles.

By H. G. Seeley. Pp. xiii + 239. Illustrated. (London: Methuen and Co., 1901.) Price 6s.

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L., R. Dragons of the Air: an Account of Extinct Flying Reptiles . Nature 64, 645–646 (1901).

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