Friday, 30 June 2017

The Lapworth Museum of Geology

 I have not had any contact with the Lapworth Museum at Birmingham University Edgbaston Campus since the mid 1980's.  This museum has seen a significant improvement in many respects since then and is well worth a visit. The  University railway station is a short walk away and it can be accessed from Redditch, Birmingham New Street or Litchfield.
 There is a striking life size model of the skeleton of Pteranodon ingens suspended from  the main fossil gallery ceiling.  This gives a good idea of the size of these large Late Cretaceous pterosaurs.
 A cast of the Bonn fossil of Scaphognathus crassidens shows how the Late Jurassic rhamphorhynchoid pterosaurs had sturdy skeletons and well armed jaws.
 By contrast, the lighter and more gracile Pterodactylus antiquus skeleton cast of one of the Munich specimens shows a different type of Late Jurassic pterosaur.  Both of these casts are of exceptional quality, being professionally produced from the original fossils.  Many commercial copies are not nearly so good.
The museum collections are arranged to give a good understanding about the distribution of fossil types across geological time, which is exactly what a university museum collection should do. 
Of course, there are other aspects of the fossil collections here that are just as interesting and amazing as the pterosaur offerings.  Next time I am in Birmingham I shall consider another visit to this fascinating place.