Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Lets read _Ranger Rick's Dinosaur Book_!

Ranger Rick's Dinosaur Book

A treasure trove of retro-paleoart recent and otherwise, I have seen a lot of love online for Ranger Rick's Dinosaur Book (copyright 1984 National Wildlife Federation). While it never really gets as strange as Dinosaurs Discovered or the Rourke books, it's still pretty typical of dinosaur books from that time period. This one sports a wide variety of illustrators including Mark Hallett, Eleanor M. Kish, Rudolph Zalinger, and the legendary Charles R. Knight.

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In case you ever doubt the impact of paleoart, think of Charles R. Knight. This drawing is one of his. Crack open an older dinosaur book and you will see this as the "default" action pose for small theropods.

Ranger Rick's Dinosaur Book

In this John Dawson painting, we see an older theory about hadrosaurs that seems to (if you'll pardon the pun) no longer hold much water. They were supposed to be able to use their tails as a weapon. Exactly how this would work, what with their tails being held rather rigid by ossified tendons, I do not know.

Ranger Rick's Dinosaur Book

Anyway, here are some hadros with unusually creepy eyes by Biruta Akerbergs. I have a feeling they may have been inspired by this guy...

Ranger Rick's Dinosaur Book

It wouldn't be an Old Dinosaur Book review if I didn't have a Kissguanodon or a HMNH McJurassicPark Raptor, now would it? This John Dawson painting should fulfill one of those requirements at least. Love the "Aw crap" look on the Tenontosaur. And note the big Deinocheirus arms. I did a comic a while back about those arms and noted that I had a picture just like this lodged in my subconscious forever. Now I have some proof of it!
Now, the problem with dinosaur books for kids is that they inevitably end on the mother of all colossal downers (mostly because older dinosaur books don't care about birds). There's really nothing I can add to this old Mark Hallett painting except that I hated it as a child and I strongly dislike it now:

Ranger Rick's Dinosaur Book

I... wow. Of course, now I know why this painting bugs me: mammals galore, but where the hell are all the birds?

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A few weeks ago, this slice of crazy popped up in glorious "filmed in the dark with a shaky phone camera" vision. It has just recently been posted in "I can actually see the images onscreen" vision, and because every other "Pokemon" player has posted it, I guess I have to too. Even though this version of Pikachu and Meowth are going to haunt our dreams.

 

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Announcement: So help me. I missed out on Talk Like a Pirate Day. But I'll be damned if I forget to tell you that today is Hobbit Day. Crank this tune while you read this. And remember kids, {enter obligatory snarky pipeweed joke here}!  
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Art of the Day! Gestural figure sketches from a coffee shop.
  9.9.10 - Early American gesture sketches

5 comments:

Zach said...

I got this book from the library almost on a weekly basis when I was little. My favorite illustrations are the "Ceratosaurus vs. Stegosaurus" painting and the "fightin' dinosaurs" picture.

Where were all the birds? Most of them were DEAD. Remember that the Cretaceous was dominated by enantiornithes, and ornithuromorphs (crown birds) were still on the meager end of the diversity scale. It's a miracle they survived at all.

Of course, none of this was known when the painting was painted, so...moot point.

Albertonykus said...

A lot of mammals were dead, too, but they still began swarming out of dinosaur skulls left and right as soon as every last non-neornithine dinosaur was dead.

Albertonykus said...

I remember seeing an old video where a hadrosaur used its tail to fight off a tyrannosaurid. Didn't know that was such a widespread phenomenon of old-style dinos.

The "Pokemon Apokelypse" thing... What in the world???

Trish said...

RE: Alive Mammals and Dead... Everything Else

Thanks, Al. Couldn't have said it better myself. The thing is, we really should be seeing all kinds of critters crawling around the dead triceratops singing "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead" -- IF we should be seeing any post-apocalyptic survivors at all. As it is, we don't even see any living *plants*. (Which indicates that this is a depiction of the possibly-debunked "Rocks falls, everything dies in one shot" theory.) As it is, it comes across as a weird application of the What Measure Is A Nonhuman trope.
(I need coffee badly.)

RE: Kick -or Tail, rather- Boxing Hadrosaurs

That doc would have been "Dinosaur!" A very odd but awesome hour-long documentary that I wrote about almost a year ago: http://babbletrish.blogspot.com/2009/08/showing-some-love-for-phil-tippets-go.html

JerkyD said...

^^ "Thanks, Al. Couldn't have said it better myself. The thing is, we really should be seeing all kinds of critters crawling around the dead triceratops singing "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead" -- IF we should be seeing any post-apocalyptic survivors at all. As it is, we don't even see any living *plants*."

Just in case you haven't already seen it (I posted a similar link in 1 of my DA comments), here's a pic w/both bird & plant survivors: http://web.me.com/jasonbrougham/Site/Illustrations/Pages/ecological_and_reproductive_reconstructions.html#10

"RE: Kick -or Tail, rather- Boxing Hadrosaurs"

That "Dinosaur!" scene always did seem weird to me. Thanks to you, at least now I know the reasoning behind it. Also thanks to you, now I can add "Ranger Rick's Dinosaur Book" to my growing collection of dino books.