The Addiction to Artis Brushes

*Post originally written by Olivia J on The Unknown Beauty Blog. If you see this post elsewhere, it has been stolen.*


I know this is beginning to look like an Artis brush blog but it isn't.  I just figured it would be helpful to post additional measurement information on the rest of the brushes.  For any of you thinking of buying them and wondering about the sizes of these brushes, this can help you.
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The Tyrannosaur Chronicles book launch

Friday the 22nd April saw the official launch of Dr. David Hone’s first book, The Tyrannosaur Chronicles (Bloomsbury Sigma), at Queen Mary University London, in the rather lovely book-lined Octagon of Queen’s Building -- which, if the British Museum’s Enlightenment Gallery should fail to become my library, would serve pretty well in its stead. Dr. Dave has written about the book’s publication on his blog, and it has already gained a deservedly positive reception, not least among which is Tom Holland’s glowing review on New Statesman. And we at Love in the time of Chasmosaurs are very much hoping to post one or two of our own in due course.

 
After an introduction by Dr. Steve Le Comber, Dr. Dave read two short extracts from the book. The first, on a method of prey despatch, was especially illuminating and memorable for me simply because the conjecture never once occurred to me, but which once posited made such elegant sense: 


‘The huge caudofemoralis muscles ran from the femur and up most of the first third of the tail in all dinosaurs. The tail gave a huge amount of power to the legs for running, was full of major blood vessels and was not surrounded by bone. A heavy bite anywhere around the thigh or first part of the tail might well have crippled an animal, leaving it unable to run and bleeding badly. Also, the tail was one of the first things a pursuing hunter would encounter in a fleeing animal, so using this technique would have reduced the chase distance, which would have been important especially if the prey animal was fundamentally faster than the tyrannosaur. Notably, there are two fossil hadrosaurs showing injury to the tails from tyrannosaur bites, and another with a wound to the leg; it’s a very limited data set, but it does nonetheless point to this as a strategy.’

 After the readings, the audience was treated to a live link-up via Skype with the book’s illustrator, Scott Hartman, whose trusted, accurate skeletals I’m sure require no introduction here. Dr. Dave prefaced this by pointing out the precision of Scott’s working methods, and recounting how, during the course of writing the book, when Dave was asked whether he had a second choice in mind in the event that Scott couldn’t be procured, his answer was a quite decisive ‘well, no.’


The last of the formalities was the purchasing and signing of copies of the book (all which were brought to the launch sold out), whilst guests also had time to ogle at, photograph, and even handle the various casts that were on display.

Dave points out that the manus here belongs to Albertosaurus rather than T. rex

It was a great pity that Marc couldn’t make it this time, or without question there would have been some choice goofy pictures with the fantastic skull, and you would have had a superior post than this besides (in more ways than one). Never mind. I did at any rate get a picture of another star who also happened to be there.

Luis Rey!
The evening itself was rounded off with the hosts and guests all trooping off to a nearby pub for a celebratory drink. Marc was more than especially missed at this point. On that note, he and I have been chatting over a little competition which we’re hoping to launch very shortly, with copies of this very book as prizes, hurrah! Watch this space, as they say.

    

What Should Not Have Been Discontinued - Sue Devitt Cosmetics

*Post originally written by Olivia J on The Unknown Beauty Blog. If you find this post elsewhere, it has been stolen.*


There are some makeup lines which deserved a great presence in the makeup field.  Take for example Sue Devitt Cosmetics.  Sue Devitt is an Australian makeup artist who got her start with Francois Nars.  Later, she created her own full line of very wearable colors named after exotic locales around the world.
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Horniman bonus dinosaurs

As an addendum to my previous post, it's worth mentioning that there's some dinosaur material on permanent display at the Horniman...just not very much. Perhaps the most noteworthy dinosaur display consists of a series of very dated scale models. They're most definitely of the pre-Renaissance, cold-blooded old school, but very charming with it. Here's a selection.


Stegosaurus: lovingly detailed and boasting a rather lifelike skin texture, alongside a too-short tail and semi-sprawling forelimbs. It also looks very cross, which is quite cute. For whatever reason, the label describes this animal as being from Peterborough, a city in eastern England (maybe they had Dacentrurus in mind?). There's no word on the sculptor for any of these, unfortunately, although 'V. EDWARDS' is discernible on Steggy's base.


Apparently made by the same sculptor, this Triceratops is seemingly based on the model skeleton on display at London's NHM (note the posture and hadrosaur feet). Either the artist intended the frill to appear to be covered in keratin or cornified skin, or they were a little too keen on reproducing the look of fossil skulls. The seamless blend between the horns and the animal's skin appeared a great deal in old palaeoart, but is seldom seen anymore; modern artists prefer an obvious 'join', which probably makes more sense.


Finally we have this Scolosaurus in classic short-tailed, pancake-o-saurus guise. Not half as entertaining as the life-size models that dot dodgy dino parks around the world, but still a treat. The too-short tail with twin terminal spines was the result of a misinterpretation of the fossil material, while the sprawling posture...I dunno, it's just wrong. Beautiful paintwork, though - seemingly just a dull brown at first, it rewards closer inspection.

The museum has previously had a retro, properly Neave Parker Scelidosaurus model on display, as well as a two-a-penny Dollo-style Iguanodon, but Niroot and I can't recall seeing those. In any case, you can check them out on the museum and Dave Hone's blogs, respectively.

And really finally...here's a photo of me (by Niroot) with that big Tarbosaurus skull, why not. Gives you an idea of how big it is (I'm 1.72m tall, I believe). There'll be more tyrannosaur-related shenanigans on this blog very soon, as somebody's gone and written a book all about them...


Monster Families at the Horniman

While everyone knows the few 'big name' museums in London (the NHM among them), the city also boasts a surprisingly large number of more low-key institutions, some of which are well worth seeking out for the nuttier natural history enthusiast. One of these would be the Horniman Museum, located a stone's throw from Forest Hill station in south-east London. Currently the Horniman is home to the travelling exhibition 'Dinosaurs: Monster Families', which is naturally what drew Niroot and I in (for the second and first visit, respectively). Here's the skinny, y'all.



As the title suggests, this exhibition focuses on the ways dinosaurs reared their young, and also on the dinosaur life cycle - from adorable wide-eyed hatchlings to grizzled adults with an alarming tendency to fight each other in primordial battles to the death. Most of the dinosaurs featured are from Mongolia and China, which makes sense given the remarkable specimens that have been unearthed there. Naturally, one of the first mounts to grab one's attention upon entry is this Protoceratops with babies (above), posed ready to defend the smaller animals from a possibly feathery assailant. It's just the first of many wonderful mounts to be found here.


Nearby, a series of skull casts is on hand to display the animal's growth, from innocent youngster to frightening, beak-jawed monstrosity with killer cheekbones. Yikes.


Accompanying the casts is this old Mark Hallett piece, depicting that infamous battle between pointy-faced freak and everyone's favourite comparatively fragile-looking stab-happy bird-o-saurus. That Velociraptor is scaly can be attributed to the age of the piece - more disconcerting is the nearby sign, declaring that this 'really happened 65 million years ago'. Nah, you need to add on a few more million years. (I feel obliged to point out, though, that the signage was generally very good.)


Psittacosaurus is the subject of another beautiful mount depicting a familial group. As with most of the smaller mounts at the exhibition, the mount is positioned to allow viewing from all angles, which is a real treat. Careful attention has been paid to placing the juveniles in subtly varying poses, their heads glancing in different directions. The precedent for such behaviour, of course, has been set by some spectacular assemblages found in China, casts of which are also on display (below).


Of course, the inclusion of a large tyrannosaur is obligatory, and a series of Tarbosaurus skulls gives us a look at how the animal changed as it grew. These are accompanied by a Luis Rey artwork depicting a certain other theropod that every kid visiting the exhibition confidently identified the skulls as belonging to (but they didn't! So there! Take that, small children!). The largest skull cast is actually larger and chunkier than the one attached to the full skeletal mount, indicating that the Alarming One was quite capable of giving Rexy a run for his money.


Even if it doesn't represent the largest Tarbosaurus ever, the skeletal mount is quite something to behold, and can again be viewed from a number of different angles. It's easy to forget just how disconcertingly birdlike tyrannosaur legs were until you see them up close like this. They're really quite elegant, and appear jarringly mismatched with that overbuilt, monstrous, toothy head. But I guess that's why we love 'em, after all.



Nearby is a display on sauropod eggs, the undoubted highlight of which is this life-sized titanosaur embryo model (below), sculpted by William Monteleone. What a gorgeous piece of work.


And on the subject of embryo models - does anyone remember this?


It's a model of the theropod hatchling 'Baby Louie', sculpted by Brian Cooley and featured on the cover of National Geographic back in 1996. At the time, 'Louie' was thought to be a therizinosaur, and this model depicts it as such; more recently it has been re-identified as an oviraptorosaur. Consequently, it is featured in the context of a display on oviraptorosaur eggs and nests, which again features spectacular artwork by Luis. A nearby table is entirely occupied by a replica of a giant oviraptorosaur's nest - a startling reminder of just how large these highly birdlike animals could be.


Around the corner, and here's a skeleton seldom seen in the UK - Probactrosaurus. For someone accustomed to mounts of European iguanodonts (like Mantellisaurus and Iguanodon itself), it's fascinating to be able to make comparisons with this Asian animal. While I hadn't seen it before, it seems that this cast has popped up in a number of different places around the world (so hey, feel free to share any photos you've taken of it...preferably cheesy ones).


A display nearby contrasts the skulls of an adult Saurolophus and a juvenile Arstanosaurus (controversial taxonomy alert). Niroot remarked that of all the 'duck-billed dinosaur' skulls he'd seen, this one seemed most strikingly ducklike. I'm inclined to agree, although you've got to wonder what was going on in terms of soft tissue either side of that great big ridge running up the midline. The baby, on the other hand, is just plain cute. Sorry: cuuuuuute. The skulls are accompanied by another artwork by Mark Hallett, namely his Hypacrosaurus nesting scene. It's dated a little, but remains very lovely all the same. I do love me some Hallett.



Circumnavigating the exhibition in an anti-clockwise fashion, the final case one comes upon is filled with specimens of modern animals from the Horniman's collection, all of them either dinosaurs (i.e. birds) or their nearest living relatives (i.e. crocodilians), the better to place dinosaurs' parental care into an evolutionary context. Among these is a wonderful display of skulls from crocodilians of different ages (below). I'm going to christen the juveniles Nanocrocodylus and you can't stop me. David Attenborough's very own elephant bird egg is also on display, except when I visited it wasn't. Wah!


And finally...here's Niroot with a dirty great Apatosaurus femur. Can you imagine how intimidating it must have been to run into a beast of this colossal height? And the Apatosaurus cast's impressive, too. (Ithankyou.) If you should travel to London this side of September, do drop in on the Horniman and check out this exhibition - it's well worth the trip!

Artis Brushes versus the Knock Offs

*Post originally written by Olivia J on The Unknown Beauty Blog. If you see this post elsewhere, it has been stolen.*


You may be wondering how the Artis brushes compare to the many knock offs you see on ebay and Amazon.  After all, a price of one Artis brush can cost the entire set of a knock off.  Why have one brush when you can have a set of ten similar looking ones, right?  Are the knock offs as good as their expensive counterpart? Or are they a waste of money?

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Therapsids and You


Testing… Testing…
As this is my first post on LITC I’d like to say “Hello!” I live in South Africa, in the south- western windy end that’s known as the Cape of Good Hope (You know, the place the survivors travel to at the end of the 2012 movie…)
Anyway, I’ve pretty much always been a fossil nerd. As kids my twin sister and I would set up our own excavations. We’d dig up things we thought were dinosaur fossils with tools we found in our parents garage. Nowadays my love of paleontology is not restricted to dinosaurs. In South Africa we have a diverse range of geological formations that have preserved many different creatures from all across the expanse of time. One such group of creatures is a group that is very close to my heart, a group of animals that is not very well known: Therapsids.  
What are Therapsids?
Therapsids evolved in the middle Permian, around 260 million years ago. Therapsid fossils are not unique to South Africa. There are rich finds of these animals in Russia, though South Africa is where these Therapsids were first discovered. The Therapsids belong to a larger group of animals called the Synapsids (of which mammals are the only living examples) and a particularly well known Synapsid from North America  is Dimetrodon.
But Dimetrodon is a dinosaur right? Nope, wrong. But then why have I been finding Dimetrodon figurines alongside T.rexsince childhood? Because Therapsids are so poorly understood. Also, let’s admit they do look pretty wild with that giant, colorful fan stuck to their backs. But Dimetrodon is not a dinosaur. So what was it, a reptile? Let’s return to the definition of a Synapsid.


Original artwork: Charles R Knight

Everybody Let’s Not Walk the Dinosaur
Synapsid is an umbrella term referring to a lineage of animals both living and extinct that evolved from Amniotes, early tetrapods that were terrestrial and bred on land. Reptiles and Synapsids both have this common ancestor; however, they were two different lines of descent and this cannot be stressed enough. Lizards, snakes, crocodiles, dinosaurs and the avian dinosaurs, birds, are all groups of animals we’re familiar with tracing their ancestry back to Reptiles.
But what are Synapsids? While early ones like Dimetrodonsuperficially resembled reptiles and dinosaurs, they were not reptiles. These animals were the ancient relatives and ancestors of mammals, including Humans.  In South Africa, a group of Synapsids named the Therapsids reigned as the dominant fauna for over 40 Million years, and included a bizarre group of animals that could have come straight out of a science-fiction novel. Gorgonospians and Therocephalians had long sabre-like canines, similar to the sabre-toothed cats that evolved much later and prowled the primeval flood plains of the Great Karoo, at a time when South America, Africa, India, Antarctica, and Australia were joined forming a single giant southern continent called Gondwana. Dog to cow-sized dicynodonts were tusk-bearing herbivores, who fed using a tortoise like beak. They were also the main prey of the gorgonopsians and therocephalians. Smaller meerkat-sized animals called Cynodonts included the ancestors of mammals and may even have had whiskers.
However, life on Earth never came closer to complete annihilation than it did at the end of the Permian period 252 million years ago, when 90% of all life (including the therapsids) was eradicated due to a run-away greenhouse warming event at that time. Fossil remains of these animals are found in the Karoo Basin today, and tell their story to Palaeontologists. A few of the small, burrowing therapsids species managed to survive and their descendants, the mammals, eked out a living through the Mesozoic (perhaps dodging the gargantuan steps of sauropods and T. rex!) The amazing part of this story is that the only group of Synapsids alive today are mammals, and us. Perhaps if our minute burrowing ancestors were not so resourceful we would not be here.
Therapsids and other synapsids are amazing evidence for the wonder of evolution. The fact that we humans can trace our ancestry back to these animals… I can’t get over how amazing that is. It’s something we should all know about.  In South Africa the fossil preservation is of such high resolution that the transition from therapsid to mammal can be tracked through time using these animals. Also we can now safely say that there are no reptile- people after all because humans did not evolve from reptiles…

Source: Flickr



Purposes and Benefits of Continuing Lifelong Education©

Introduction: The past two days I’ve been thinking about lifelong learning–what we used to call “continuing education.”  This interest was stimulated by reading an article from a favorite source of mine–the old Royal Bank of Canada Newsletter.  It isn’t being written any more, but back in the day I found its essays on many subjects interesting, insightful and even eloquent.  They were eminently quotable.  The one I read was a seven-page essay titled simply, “Lifelong Learning.”(1)  Interested in the subject, I Googled for more and found an article by one characterized as a “guru” of lifelong learning, entitled “Top Ten Benefits of Lifelong Learning."(2)  Typical of today’s “sound bite” generation Nancy Nordstrom gave us ten bullet points out of a longer book-length study.  Though there were some similarities between the two, overlap if you will, frankly, I preferred the more thoughtful and insightful work of the Royal Bank’s essayist.  So I have culled out the essence here for you. Happy learning.

****

[Lifelong learning’s purpose] is to help us to make the most of our good points and to turn our deficits into assets. It keeps our perceptions sharp. It gives us the capacity for self-renewal. (p. 1)

It enables one to grow and to live significantly as youth, parent and worker, and as a citizen of the world.  (p. 1)

Continuing education enables us to re-evaluate our habits of thought, concepts and ideals in the light of these changing times. It prepares us to face any change or chance, so that we are not easily thrown into a panic. It assures us of where we are, indicates where we are going, and tells us what we had better be doing under these circumstances. (p. 2)

Continuing education does not provide a tourist's guide to life, but a scale of values by which to regulate living. It offers these benefits: it enables us to learn what thoughts and acts we should avoid and what we should pursue if we are to be happy; it shows us how to inquire into the reality of things so as not to be deluded by surface appearances; it helps to free us, on the one hand from the ghostly drag of superstition, and on the other hand from the arrogant assertion of dogmatic opinion.  (p. 2)

Freedom is one of the great benefits conferred by education. It enlarges the scope of a person to enjoy the good things of life. (p. 2)

Continuing education should be a progress from lower to higher stages of understanding.  (p. 2)

It helps, too, in understanding and communicating ideas. ...   Continuing education will enable them to turn their collection of random and disconnected ideas into an integrated and understandable communication. (p. 3)

Continuing education enables one to meet and converse with all sorts of people. (p. 3)

Continuing education means ... knowing the validity of the great things we treasure: justice, liberty, loyalty, truth and duty. It stimulates your imagination, creates perspective and breadth of outlook, and presents the challenge of judging between this and that.  (p. 3)

Education continued into maturity keeps us supplied with many points of view from which to survey and appraise events and movements. One mark of the educated person is the degree of his openmindedness. He is opposed to dogmatism, intolerance and smugness. No one can pursue education without widening his views and changing his mind. (p. 3)

Consciously or subconsciously everyone knows that he needs a comprehensive view of existence if he is to integrate his values, choose his goals, plan his future, and maintain the coherence of his life. Therefore he is constantly pushing back the boundaries of his knowledge, not seeking to prove some notions he has, but searching for the truth about them. p. 3)

At every turn in the journey of life the need for knowledge urges itself upon us. Whatever advance we make in our working or private life is due to the increase of our knowledge and our urge to push upward to superiority. p. 3-4)

Knowledge is the ... only safe foundation upon which to build dream castles. It opens the door to valuable states of mind. (p. 4)

To be educated you must keep your knowledge up to date.  (p. 4)

Much knowledge comes from observation. Literacy does not consist in having the ability to read .... It is the power to absorb observations, make analyses and reach decisions. It is the capability to know how to find out the answer to questions.  (p.4)

From acquiring knowledge we proceed to reasoning.   ...  To think is to compare things with one another, to notice wherein they agree and differ, and to classify them according to their agreements and differences.  (p.4)

In doing this you will benefit by the academic habit of disciplined and objective thought. There is an austere beauty in precise thinking, and great satisfaction in seeking and finding answers.  (p.4)

Close upon the heels of educated reasoning comes wisdom. When you gain and practice scholarship, that gives you a fierce resentment against pretense and bluff, against shoddy thinking and jerry-building. Wisdom sees the fitness of things and grasps the logic of events.  (p. 5)

Continued learning assures that the accumulated wisdom of advancing years will be strengthened by a growth in attitudes and concepts suited to changing social, economic and political conditions. It enables a person to adjust constantly to changes in his individual situation and to the demands and expectations of society. (p. 5)

Learning throughout life fits one to rise above average. Enthronement of the average is one of the pitfalls facing a democracy, and the one way to avoid this pitfall is a lively recognition of excellence wherever it appears, and cultivation of the urge to reach it.  (p. 5)

Mental stagnation is the most greatly-to-be-feared fate of encroaching age....  Continuing education enables a person to keep busy at his highest natural level, and sometimes to rise above it.  (p. 5)

Upon retirement, many men and women return to education as something that holds the assurance of a better way of life and a path toward self-fulfilment. How different is that effort to adjust so as to get the best out of life from the attitude of those who are content upon retirement to idly repose, like emancipated slaves content with their freedom.  (p. 5)

The fruits of continuing education include the development of ideals, the setting up of a sense of values, the acquisition of a feeling for beauty, and the experience of adventure.  (p. 6)

The ideal life would be the fullest development of your highest powers in education and art, and growth in religious, moral and intellectual awareness. There is an innate satisfaction in looking for the true and the noble, whether the search be among ideas or men and women. As your education progresses, you develop a philosophy that demands the first-rate.  (p. 6)

Find out what things are worth bothering about. It is a great advance toward happiness when we learn what things are in our power and can be changed, and what things are not in our power and therefore must be adjusted to.  (p. 6)

...when a person has leisure to think about things, often reveals that the working days have been lacking in the perception of beauty. To cultivate appreciation of beauty is an essential part of continuing education. (p. 7)

Last but not least is the excitement of discovery. When you see an analogy, a connection between events or thoughts, which no one has seen before, you experience the thrill of discovery. (p. 7)

... When we find something in a book that causes surprise or admiration, or that adds to our knowledge of the universe, we are released, for the time being, from the choking grip of sophistication and the dead hand of cynicism.  (p. 7)

Only through lifelong education can a man or a woman continue to live significantly.  (p. 7)

There is much talk about "rights". Every person has the right to become all that he is capable of becoming. To him, education is attractive and worth while, and it is attainable at any age. It is a continuous growth of the mind and a continuous illumination of life; an eternal becoming something better. (p. 7)

***

Let’s think together again, soon.

Notes:

1.  “Lifelong Learning,” Royal Bank of Canada Letter 55, no. 12 (December 1974).  Available online at:  http://www.rbc.com/aboutus/letter/december1974.html

2.  http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/Top_10_Benefits_of_Lifelong_Learning.html  Life-long learning has been a theme in LDS doctrine since the beginning.  For a good contemporary example see:  Henry B. Eyring, “Learning Forever,” commencement address of 13 December 2008 at BYU-Hawaii, available online.

Artis Fluenta Brush Review by a 70+ Year Old Makeup Junkie

*Post originally written by Olivia J on The Unknown Beauty Blog. If you see this post elsewhere, it has been stolen.*


By now you have probably seen the videos and read reviews about these Artis Brushes.  There are too many of them especially within a certain age bracket where anything would look good.  Therefore, I decided Olivia Sr. should review them since she is part of the ignored forgotten generation in makeup and beauty.
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Vintage Dinosaur Art: Animals of the Past Stamps

Now here's another properly old one (at long last) - a compendium of extinct animal 'stamps' from the Cold War world of 1954. Why put 'stamps' in fright quotes? Well, they're more like stickers, given that you wouldn't be able to send an angry letter to the palaeontological establishment of the day with any of them. This would, therefore, be a sticker album. But 'tis mere semantics - we're here to see a variety of prehistoric creatures presented in sub-technicolour retro stylee, and The Golden Play Book of Animals of the Past Stamps doesn't disappoint.



At least...not too much. The most significant letdown when picking up any dinosaur (andotherprehistoricanimal) book from this period is that, unless you find one illustrated by one of the Old Masters (Burian, Zallinger et al), you know it's going to be filled with art slavishly copying said Masters. (One could argue that this is still the case, but hey, at least we now have copious books filled with entirely original CG abominations to choose from.) Such is the case here for the most part. The stamps were illustrated by Matthew Kalmenoff, and are really quite attractive, even if he sticks to all the usual tropes. The line drawings (to colour in, kids!) were provided by Robert Gartland, but more on them later.


The album spans the entire history of animal life on Earth, and contrary to what you'd likely see in such a book today, prehistoric mammals occupy more pages than the dinosaurs - 15 pages to the archosaurs' piffling 5. This appears to simply be a reflection of contemporary attitudes towards both groups' relative importance, whereas today we know better, and no-one would dream of putting smelly synapsids on a pedestal. No way. In any case, I'll only be looking at Mesozoic animals here, but if you're interested in seeing some of the Cenozoic mammals (as seen on the back cover, above), then please let me know.


For whatever reason, the dinosaurs' brief appearance in this book begins with a look at a 'bird-like dinosaur', presumably an ornithomimosaur. Oddly, this animal isn't explained beyond 'this was a dinosaur' (and surely it's pronounced 'dah-no-sour'?). Tellingly, the stamp (with its lovely impressionistic plants) depicts the theropod with its tail held clear of the ground, while in the line drawing it's rather limp. Ornithomimosaurs tended to be the one theropod group that, back in the day, were depicted as being more active than usual - there's just no escaping those leggy proportions.


Of course, there's no danger of Bronto the Thunder Dinosaur being depicted as anything other than a glacially slow flesh mountain with all the quick wit of the owner of a Donald Trump bumper sticker. On the other hand, and in spite of the fact that the text does mention that the animal "was so heavy that it stayed in the water most of the time," Bronto is depicted standing on more-or-less dry land not only in the line drawing, but in the stamp as well. Although in the latter case the renegade beast is surrounded by more watery compatriots, all slurping mushy plants in suitably Zallingerian style.

And speaking of Zallinger - that Allosaurus (or should that be 'Laelaps'?) looks awfully familiar.


Happily, the Other Leaping Lizard is soon seen taking on Stegosaurus, whose bodily proportions differ conspicuously between the line drawing and the stamp (which is clearly based on a Burian piece). Stegosaurus looks understandably quite cross, while Allosaurus appears simply to want to calm the situation down. Some hope.



Strangely, Protoceratops is the next dinosaur to be ticked off the list. It's referred to as the 'horn-faced dinosaur', which prompted a few remarks over on the Facebook page that it's rather lacking in the horn department. Ah, but you see,
"This creature had no real horn, but just a bony knob on its nose. Yet it became the ancestor of later dinosaurs that had real horns on their faces."
So there. Quiet, pedants. The illustration depicts Protoceratops in classically sprawling guise, overlooking a clutch of someone else's eggs in a desert environment.  The book then skips along to marine reptiles, starting with ichthyosaurs, or 'fish-like reptiles' (fair enough). This illustration must be one of the pieces that has aged most gracefully, probably because ichthyosaurs were already very well known from near-complete specimens at the time. I like its glossiness and swishing motion.


Rather more dated  is this plesiosaur page, featuring a line drawing of a sinisterly grinning beast no doubt heavily inspired by Charles Knight's none-more-influential restoration of Elasmosaurus. That evil fish looks like a difficult prey item, mind you. The stamp appears to show two individuals going after a hesperornithine bird, which lends further credence to my idea that Kalmenoff had more of an idea of what he was doing and/or better access to reference material.

And yes..."It came from a line of dinosaurs that left the land and became animals of the sea." Someone inform Palaeofail.


After the inevitable Charles Knight mosasaur (now in the movies, baby!) comes the inevitable Burianesque Pteranodon (no Hendrix perm), one of only two pterosaurs known at the time. Seemingly. In fairness, Kalmenoff's illustration more riffs on Burian's work rather than directly copying it, and the sky is simply gorgeous. The line illustration, meanwhile, rather reminds me of those foam gliders one can buy (normally labelled 'FLYING DINOSAUR'). Only without the comedy teeth.


Here's that other pterosaur - no scientific name, but it's probably Rhamphorhynchus, based on the head and relatively short neck. Decent illustrations for the time, although one of the individuals in the line drawing appears to have gone splat against the cliff. And lost its tail. I have a feeling that the line drawing may be based on an illustration of different pterosaur genera (hence the tail), but I'm not sure. Feel free to drop me a comment.


As is typical of any dinosaur (andotherprehistoricanimals) book published prior to...well, let's face it, the late 1990s, Archaeopteryx is lumped in with the pterosaurs, 'cos it's a flying animal and that. This illustration more-or-less follows the 'magpie Archaeopteryx' meme, which might not actually be that wide of the mark, as it transpires. The stamp is nicely composed, with the foliage serving to emphasise the animal where it could easily have cluttered the scene and made a mess.

Unfortunately for the Ancient Bird, it must share this spread with another, much larger and uglier, theropod. Bafflingly drawn in the style of early Knight works that the artist himself later superseded, it's...


...Rexy! And his eternal enemy, Badly Drawn Lumpen Triceratops. Rexy notably sports a Disney-pleasing three-fingered hand, while his feet appear well adapted to perching on top of passing alamosaurs. Poor old Triceratops, meanwhile, has once again been drawn with horns erupting from behind its eyes. Ferchrissake.


Happily, the stamps are much better - Triceratops sports far more convincing horns and, er, limbs, while Rexy is the subject of a handsome, if very dated, portrait. (Why's the ear there? We'll never know.) Rexy's look pretty much follows the standard lizardy Knightian mould (all wrinkly neck and zipper teeth), but the Triceratops is more intriguing. The unusual frill is reminiscent of the skeleton on display in the NHM (London) which, believe it or not, is entirely sculpted. All of it. Which is why it's so damn weird. This was itself apparently based on an earlier model developed for the Pan-American Expo in 1904. For more information on all of this, I implore you to read an especially superb post over at Extinct Monsters if you haven't already. In any case, this Triceratops' exposed teeth are also very unusual. It also makes it look as if the animal is giving us a sly grin, which I definitely approve of.

And now for something completely different.

LATE DAVE HONE NEWS! 

Dave Hone (for it is he) is hosting the launch of his new book, The Tyrannosaur Chronicles, in London on April 22 at the Queen Mary University of London. You can get free tickets for the event on the official website. Unfortunately I can't make it, but Niroot should be there. Look out for much more on The Tyrannosaur Chronicles here in the near future! It looks set to be an important and very readable addition to the popular literature on those most notorious of fluffy coelurosaurian moviestar carnivores.