Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Let's Read the 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:
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.
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.
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."
And here's good old Allosaurus in full on "A T. rex but with more fingers" mode. Man, poor Allosaurus.
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.
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.
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.
Good old Quadrupedal Baryonyx! I can't get over how bizarre this looks in hindsight.
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.
Poor Ceratosaurus suffered terribly from that method, didn't he? Where are your teeth, buddy?
I admire how adamantly old-school this Coelophysis illustration is. The dragging tail, the vaguely creepy snout, those dainty hands and feet...
I will leave you with Supposed Giant Murderbeast Deinocheirus. Because there isn't anything not to love about this.
Sketch of the Day! Here's a Heffalump for Sketch Dailies: