Friday, April 22, 2011
Dinosaur Guts, Dinosaur Butts - Let's read the Eyewitness Visual Dictionary of Dinosaurs!
Ah, Eyewitness Books. The science, nature, and history library that saved many a kid my age while writing reports for school. Their format has been much-imitated, even to the point that part of me could argue that, in many ways, Eyewitness ruined the world of nonfiction children's books. For ages and ages afterwards, the default "style" for such books was, "stark white background, photographs of objects related to the subject, and labels. Labels everywhere." You can see the roots of the "Whatever"-Ology books and their various and sundry rip-offs there.
Eyewitness' Dinosaur editions are perhaps the best-loved out of the whole series. They took the then-unusual approach of using models to depict the dinosaurs. All the models were made by John Holmes, Roby Braun, Graham High, and Jeremy Hunt. The photography was by Andy Crawford, and the drawings by John Temperton and Graham Rosewarne. The book was published in 1993 by Dorling Kindersley, Inc.
The dinosaur models were very up-to-date for their time, but maybe have not aged well. And, sadly, they are each attended by a swarm of labels.
And a few of them depict the dinosaurs from the inside-out. Lord knows why, especially since the form and function of internal anatomy isn't really the focus of the book and is never elaborated upon. And mind you, this was all done before we found Leonardo so a lot of what you see inside this Gallimimus is based on educated guessing.
Now, the Eyewitness approach is nifty but I do recall having a book by them specifically about hadrosaurs, and most of the "illustrations" were just this model photographed from different angles. Yeah.
I am willing to admit that I may be a little obsessed with Deinocheirus' crazy-long arms...
And here's the hand of Baryonyx. You know, if it were out of context and I didn't know much about theropod anatomy, I might assume this was a maniraptor foot and large talon too. This explains some things.
Speaking of maniraptors, here's a familiar face. 80's kids, how sick are you of this guy. (It's Dale Russel's rather infamous model of Troodon, for those who don't recognize it.)
And here is a very strange bust of an oviraptor. I'm gonna say it. I'm gonna say it and you can't stop me. Here we go.
Scaly raptors look stupid.
They do. Look at this thing and the Russel!Troodon and try to argue it. And keep this in mind for one of next week's books...
Additionally, CHUD.com reviewed "The Land Before Time" as part of it's Childhood's End series (revisiting movies the writers watched as children but hadn't seen in over a decade). If nothing else, it finally explains the title.
Additionally additionally, IndieWire has a better still of the dinosaur who shows up in the "Tree of Life" poster. I may need to do a longer post about him later...
Additionally additionally additionally, I just got some more retro dinosaur books from the library, so Retro Paleoart "Month" may go on for a week or so into May. Which is good, as that will give me time to recover from Comicon. (Which is in just a week OMG!!!)
Art of the Day!
I should probably save this for my review of "Pokemon: White", since it's one of the best things in the game (though this looked an awful lot better in my head):