The following is a republished press release from the Paleontological Research Institution  member and NOT written by the Ithaca Voice … click here to submit community announcements directly to The Voice, or contact me at

Ithaca, NY – “Amelia”, the flying Quetzalcoatlus model transferred to the Paleontological Research Institution (PRI) from the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, is now on permanent display in the Jurassic exhibit at the Museum of the Earth.

The model depicts a life-sized Quetzalcoatlus, a genus of pterosaur with an impressive 36-foot wingspan, and was originally designed and fabricated by Smithsonian staff between 1979 and 1982.

PRI hosted a public naming competition leading up to the model’s installment, with over 100 unique name suggestions received. PRI staff voted on their top 10 names, and the final name “Amelia” was chosen by an appointed panel comprised of PRI staff and community members.

The model received the name “Amelia” in honor of aviator Amelia Earhart, according to Marissa Zuckerman, Manager of Marketing and Communications at PRI. “We chose the name to honor an iconic figure who created a lasting legacy of soaring the skies with pride.

Amelia is only fitting for our Quetzalcoatlus and will help establish her own legacy here at PRI.” The winning name was submitted by two people, Mikaela Fundaun, a PRI intern, and Ithaca community member Jennifer Kay.

The model made a debut appearance without its wings in Vanished Worlds, a temporary exhibition at the Museum of the Earth showcasing additional models and dioramas from the Smithsonian that were permanently transferred to PRI in May 2015.

The wings were reattached and the permanent installation was completed in early July 2016. According to Beth Stricker, Director of Exhibitions,“Installing the Stegosaurus [also from the Smithsonian] and Quetzalcoatlus in our permanent exhibits gallery has made a tremendous difference and we are looking forward to incorporating the rest of the pieces in the coming months.”

Amelia the Quetzalcoatlus is now soaring in the Jurassic exhibit of the Museum of the Earth, with support from M&T Bank. Vanished Worlds is on display now through mid-September.

The Museum of the Earth is a public educational venue of the Paleontological Research Institution, located just north of the City of Ithaca on Route 96. For more information, visit or contact us at (607) 273-6623.

(Pictured Below: “Amelia” during the reconstruction process. The reconstruction of the model’s wings and permanent installation was completed in Early July. Photos provided.)

Michael Smith

Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.