Giant prehistoric animal hunter tells all

dave martill

Professor David Martill

A leading ‘dinosaur hunter’ will give a free public lecture on the trials and moments of magic during a career hunting pterosaurs – the largest animals ever to fly – in South America, North Africa, the Middle East and on our own Jurassic Coast.

Professor David Martill, of the University of Portsmouth’s School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, has spent 25 years tracking down, digging up and naming prehistoric creatures, from the smallest at one metre long, to the largest at 11 metres.

His lecture, In search of giant pterosaurs: A world tour, is in the University’s Portland building, Portland Street, PO1 3AH, on Wednesday, September 27, from 6-7pm.

Professor Martill said: “My search has taken me to the Middle East, to Texas, to the Caatinga of Brazil, and to the margins of the Sahara desert of Morocco and Tunisia.  I have even ventured as far as the Isle of Wight to find these enigmatic animals. A search of the jungles of Borneo to investigate claims of still living examples of the prehistoric beasts turned up nothing.”

When the first fossils of pterosaurs were found, they were thought to have been small aquatic animals. It was only 30 years later, scientists realised these creatures could fly.

Some evolved into giants as large as a Spitfire and the search for more remains of these enigmatic reptiles is challenging.

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