This project was a challenge because this animal had never been reconstructed in three dimensions before. We consulted with paleontologist James Lamsdell, who supplied us with a publication on Pentecopterus decorahensis and two-dimensional illustrations. The fossil evidence was fragmentary, and no piece of this animal was preserved larger than 12 inches. My personal challenge was to make this creature appear as though it was believable and alive. The completed model was brought home to Decorah, Iowa and revealed at the impact site where it was discovered.
We created a life sized drawing and started sculpting the 3 dimensional pieces in foam. We built the body with individual segments so we could articulate each piece and achieve a feasible life-like pose.
The final sculpture was photographed for a National Geographic special, then went to its permanent home at the University of Iowa's Mobile Museum.