Sankar Chatterjee

Dr. Sankar Chatterjee is a paleontologist, and is the Paul W. Horn Professor of Geosciences at Texas Tech University and Curator of Paleontology at the Museum of Texas Tech University.[1] He earned his Ph. D. from the University of Calcutta in 1970 and was a Post-doctoral Fellow at the Smithsonian Institution from 1977-1978.[2]

Dr. Sankar Chatterjee, PhD.
Known forStudy of prehistoric vertebrates

Dr. Chatterjee's has focused on the origin, evolution, functional anatomy, and systematics of Mesozoic vertebrates, including basal archosaurs, dinosaurs, pterosaurs, and birds.[3] He has researched Late Triassic reptiles in India, such as phytosaurs, rhynchosaurs, and prolacertiformes. He is best known for his work on vertebrates recovered in the 1980s from the Post Quarry in the Late Triassic Cooper Canyon Formation (Dockum Group) of West Texas. The material includes the large rauisuchian Postosuchus, which was named for the nearby town of Post. It also included controversial specimens Chatterjee identified as being avian (Protoavis). The identification of these specimens as avian would push back the origin of birds by at least 75 million years.[4]

In 2008, Chatterjee and Rick Lind designed a 30-inch unmanned aerial vehicle with a large, thin rudder inspired by the crest of Tupandactylus, to be called a Pterodrone.[5] The large, thin rudder-like sail on its head functioned as a sensory organ that acted similarly to a flight computer in a modern-day aircraft and also helped with the animal's turning agility. “These animals take the best parts of bats and birds,” Chatterjee said. “They had the maneuverability of a bat, but could glide like an albatross. Nothing alive today compares to the performance and agility of these animals. They lived for 160 million years, so they were not stupid animals. The skies were darkened by flocks of them. They were the dominant flying animals of their time.” “[W]e’ve found they could actually sail on the wind for very long periods as they flew over the oceans.... By raising their wings like sails on a boat, they could use the slightest breeze in the same way a catamaran moves across water. They could take off quickly and fly long distances with little effort.” [6]

Genera namedEdit

The following Genera were named by Prof. Chatterjee :

Name Year Status Coauthor(s) Notes Images
Valid taxon
  • Creisler
Valid taxon
  • Jain
  • Kutty
  • Roy-Chowdhury
Valid taxon
Valid taxon
Valid taxon
Valid taxon


Valid taxon
nomen dubium


Valid taxon


Valid taxon


Valid taxon
  • Pranab K. Majumdar

Name preoccupied by a bryozoan. Renamed Alwalkeria in 1994.

Selected publicationsEdit

  • Chatterjee, Sankar (August 1997). "Multiple Impacts at the KT Boundary and the Death of the Dinosaurs". 30th International Geological Congress. 26. pp. 31–54. ISBN 978-90-6764-254-5. Retrieved 2008-02-22.
  • Chatterjee, Sankar (15 October 2009). "Giant Impact Near India -- Not Mexico -- May Have Doomed Dinosaurs". 2009 Annual GSA Meeting, 18–21 October. The Geological Society of America Release No. 09-54. Archived from the original on 16 June 2010. Retrieved 13 August 2010.
  • Chatterjee, Sankar; Mehrotra, Naresh M. (18 October 2009). "The Significance of the Contemporaneous Shiva Impact Structure and Deccan Volcanism at the KT Boundary". 2009 Portland GSA Annual Meeting (18-21 October 2009). pp. 50–9. Archived from the original on 6 April 2010. Retrieved 13 August 2010.


  • Chatterjee, Sankar; Hotton III, Nicholas, eds. (1992). New concepts in global tectonics. Lubbock, USA: Texas Tech University Press. p. 450. ISBN 0-8967-2269-4.
  • Chatterjee, Sankar (1997). The Rise of Birds. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 312.
  • Chatterjee, Sankar; Templin, RJ (2004). Special Paper: Posture, Locomotion, and Paleoecology of Pterosaurs. 376. Boulder, CO: The Geological Society of America. pp. 64 + iv. ISBN 0-8137-2376-0.


  1. ^ Texas Tech University :: Young Investigators Archived 2008-01-21 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Sankar Chatterjee". Archived from the original on 2008-07-05. Retrieved 2008-05-31.
  3. ^ Handbook of Texas Online - VERTEBRATE PALEONTOLOGY
  4. ^ Paleontology Division: Dr. Sankar Chatterjee Archived 2008-05-24 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Pterodactyl-Inspired Robot To Master Air, Ground And Sea". Geological Society of America (2008, October 2). ScienceDaily. October 2, 2008. Retrieved July 1, 2012.
  6. ^ "Ancient Airways: Flying Drone Design Based On Prehistoric Flying Reptile". Texas Tech University (2008, October 13). ScienceDaily. October 13, 2008. Retrieved July 1, 2012.
  7. ^ a b New dinosaur species from the Upper Triassic Upper Maleri and Lower Dharmaram formations of Central India. Fernando E. Novas, Martin D. Ezcurra, Sankar Chatterjee and T. S. Kutty Earth and Environmental Science Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh / Volume 101 / Special Issue 3-4, pp 333 - 349 Copyright © Royal Society of Edinburgh 2011 Published online: 17 May 2011 doi:10.1017/S1755691011020093
  8. ^ Chatterjee, S. (1991). "Cranial anatomy and relationships of a new Triassic bird from Texas." Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 332: 277-342. HTML abstract