Talk:The Valley of Gwangi

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bat winged pterosaur[edit]

The pterosaur in Gwangi does not match fossil pterosaurs in that it has bat-like wings (multiple "fingers") rather than single "finger" wings. Usually sourced to the difficulty of maintainingg the wing membrane of the model with just one supporting "finger". One could speculate the pterosaurs in the Valley were isolated and had 65 million years of additional evolution. For the purposes of the film, the pterosaur had to fly like an eagle, swooping down, snatching and lifting prey, rather than soar like a condor or albatross as was the probable flight mode with a single "finger" wing (as the pterosaur in 1925's "Lost World"). Naaman Brown (talk) 12:49, 28 September 2011 (UTC)

Reply: It appears that Harryhausen simply based his models on other creatures made for earlier films. The wing of a bat is supported by four fingers and that of the pterosaur is supported by the greatly elongated fourth digit - they are entirely separate structures that only look broadly similar due to convergent evolution. Model pterosaurs with the correct wings have been succesfully animated in other films - probably the best examples are those in Karel Zeman's 1955 children's feature Cesta do Praveku (Journey into Prehistory) which has superb pterosaur animation (the animals were based on the Zdenek Burian painings and if you freeze-frame the in-flight scenes, you can even see such details as the veins on the pterosaurs' necks). O'Brien's pterosaur in King Kong is shown swooping down eagle-like to grab Fay Wray and in brief combat with Kong in the Skull Mountain scene so I doubt that ease of animation was a factor for Harryhausen. Maxzden Jan 12 2012 — Preceding unsigned comment added by Maxzden (talkcontribs) 17:05, 11 January 2012 (UTC)