Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Let's Read the Dinosaur and Other Prehistoric Animal Fact Finder!

Dinosaur and Other Prehistoric Animal Fact Finder

It feels like it's been forever since I did a Vintage Paleoart post doesn't it?  I have a sharp-eyed reader to thank for this one.  Over at DeviantArt, Spongebob Fossilpants correctly identified an illustration from my Syntarsus post as being from the Dinosaur and Other Prehistoric Animal Fact Finder written by Dr. Michael Benton and published by Kingfisher books in 1992.  I ordered a new copy of the book right away, because this was my go-to dinosaur reference book for many years.

Let's jump right in.  The color illustrations are by Jim Channell and David Holmes, and line illustrations are by Kevin Maddison and Ralph Orme.  According to the copyright notice in the book, some of them date back to 1988.  That might help explain a few things, for example, this:

Dinosaur and Other Prehistoric Animal Fact Finder

Do you remember a time when we used to classify big burly theropods as Carnosaurs and little wiry theropods as Coelurosaurs?  Cause this book sure does.

Note also the odd silhouettes for Prosauropoda and Ornithopoda, as well as Segnosaurs.  The latter is a topic for another day. 

Dinosaur and Other Prehistoric Animal Fact Finder

The book is arranged in alphabetical order and has a nice balance of popular and unpopular animals illustrated.  And they are all very weird looking, even by the standards of late-80's/early-90's dinosaur books.  Acanthopholis looks a little embarrassed to be here.

Dinosaur and Other Prehistoric Animal Fact Finder

As does Albertosaurus.  He's basically drawn here as "A T. rex, but smaller.  Except not really that much smaller, if we're to believe that scale graphic."

Dinosaur and Other Prehistoric Animal Fact Finder

And here's good old Allosaurus in full on "A T. rex but with more fingers" mode.  Man, poor Allosaurus.

Dinosaur and Other Prehistoric Animal Fact Finder

Here's a truly strange one.  Euoplocephalus confidently identified as Anklosaurus.  I distinctly remember a shift in dinosaur books where they tended to swap out Ankylosaurus for (correctly identified) Euoplocephalus as their token ankylosaur.  And I can't help but suspect it's because Euoplocephalus, while harder to pronounce, is way easier to draw.

Dinosaur and Other Prehistoric Animal Fact Finder

Archeopteryx strutting her stuff and showing off the creepy little hands growing out of her wings.  Because that is totally how avian wings work.  At least she isn't a Sparkleraptor this time out.

Dinosaur and Other Prehistoric Animal Fact Finder

Turns out Avaceratops probably did not look like a thing like this outside of being a smallish ceratopsian.  What really got me with this illustration, though, was that beak!  We're going to be seeing a few dinosaurs with crazy-looking beaks in this book.

Dinosaur and Other Prehistoric Animal Fact Finder

Good old Quadrupedal Baryonyx! I can't get over how bizarre this looks in hindsight.

Dinosaur and Other Prehistoric Animal Fact Finder

Reminder: all big, burly theropods are Carnosaurs. If you want to draw a specific genre, just swap out the heads and hands and maybe add a horn or a sail.

Dinosaur and Other Prehistoric Animal Fact Finder

Poor Ceratosaurus suffered terribly from that method, didn't he?  Where are your teeth, buddy?

Dinosaur and Other Prehistoric Animal Fact Finder

I admire how adamantly old-school this Coelophysis illustration is. The dragging tail, the vaguely creepy snout, those dainty hands and feet...

Dinosaur and Other Prehistoric Animal Fact Finder

Dinosaur and Other Prehistoric Animal Fact Finder

I will leave you with Supposed Giant Murderbeast Deinocheirus. Because there isn't anything not to love about this.

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Sketch of the Day! Here's a Heffalump for Sketch Dailies:

Sketch Dailies - Heffalump

2 comments:

Marc Vincent said...

You shouldn't be so hard on these old books! This was my childhood! Who cares if proportions are all wrong and Archaeopteryx has freaky extra digits! Nostalgia! You're mean!! Graaahhh!!!1!

Feels good to be able to do it myself for once. ;) Great post by the way. I recognise many of these illustrations - believe I've looked at a few myself somewhere down the line. They popped up frequently in early '90s dinosaur books, and even in Dinosaurs! magazine sometimes.

Unknown said...

Turns out Avaceratops might actually be a thing! One of the recent-ish new ceratopsid papers found it to a sister taxon to Diabloceratops, so that's...something.