David M. Unwin


David Unwin (born May 1st 1959) spends much of his time thinking about pterosaurs - flying reptiles also known as pterodactyles. He became fascinated by these animals while studying for his first degree (1979-1982; Geology) at Sheffield University in England and went on to complete a PhD on the evolution of pterosaurs at Reading University (1984-1991), England under the tutelage of the maverick palaeontologist and writer Beverley Halstead. Following postdoctoral research in Moscow (1988-1991) and in the University of Bristol (1991-1997), England, David took up the position of Curator of Fossil Reptiles and Birds in the Museum for Natural History, Berlin in 1997, assuming responsibility for the most famous fossil in the world: the Berlin Archaeopteryx. In 2006 he moved back to England to the University of Leicester, where he helps to train the next generation of museum directors.
David has researched and published on many aspects of pterosaurs, most notably, the structure of their wing membranes, their walking ability and the history of the group. Most recently he has focused his work on Chinese pterosaurs, helping to describe several new species and championing the idea that 'baby' pterosaurs were able to fly almost as soon as they hatched from the egg. Much of David's work, which has taken him to many parts of the globe including Russia, Mongolia, China, Japan and Wales, is summarised in his book, The Pterosaurs. Any spare time is devoted to shouting at his children.

Evolutionary Studies Paleontology

Institution affiliations

Work details

Reader in Paleobiology

University of Leicester
July 2006

PeerJ Contributions

August 30, 2016
4 citations
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https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.2311 PubMed 27635315