Geosternbergia sternbergi (S/F-JWE)

Geosternbergia is a genus of pterodactyloid pterosaur in the family Pteranodontidae which originally lived during the late Cretaceous period in North America, between 88 and 80.5 million years ago. It was considered to be a species of Pteranodon until taxonomic revisions in 2010 reclassified it as its own genus, though many paleontologists now believe it to be an immediate ancestor of Pteranodon. Along with the original species Geosternbergia sternbergi, the oldest and first to be classified, there is also another species called Geosternbergia maiseyi, which replaced its older relative near the end of the genus’s evolutionary history.

This pterosaur may have been cloned by InGen during the 1980s along with Pteranodon. However, since it was classified as “Pteranodon sternbergi at the time, it was listed as a Pteranodon species. Because of this misidentification, not much is known about it.

Behind the Scenes

Concept art and even some props built for 1997’s The Lost World: Jurassic Park indicate that this animal was originally intended to be featured in the film, classified at the time as a species of Pteranodon and labeled as such in production materials. It was meant to appear in the Workers’ Village, nesting on the helipad and attacking the evacuation helicopter after their eggs were destroyed; there were also scenes planned of these animals attacking paragliders that were used as emergency escape from the marauding raptor pack in the long grass. However, these scenes were cut, and the pterosaur featured in the film’s conclusion was instead Pteranodon longiceps. The only places this animal can be seen in the film are on the InGen report excerpt and the screensaver of a computer in the mobile laboratory, which confirms its existence in the film universe. Various explanations have been put forth to describe where the Geosternbergia are and what became of them, with the only official word from canon consultant Jack Ewins calling them “missing in action.”

Because both animal designs can be found in concept art, some interpretations suggest that the filmmakers intended for the Pteranodon design to represent the female and Geosternbergia the male of the same species. In fact, some fans prefer to believe this to be canon, although Universal Studios has not affirmed it. In reality, in addition to these being separate genera of pterosaur, they were never considered to be the exact same species by scientists (one is probably the ancestor of the other); furthermore, while sexual dimorphism is prominent in pteranodontids, the different genera could not be passed off in this way. Females of both were between half to a third the size of the males, and had extremely reduced crests.