Just imagine how this multiple banner would have looked at the entrance of the Natural History Museum in London! (This is only the draft by the way).
Alas… it was never going to be.
Late last year I received an invitation to illustrate and propose some ideas for the new exhibition at the BMNH “Extinction. Not The End Of The World” posters and banners. I set enthusiastically to work on some ideas that might have enhanced not only an exhibition that was endorsed by no other than David Attenborough, but also do some designs that would make it work with the spectacular settings of the museum. The spirit of the designs were to reflect that the world would be extremely overcrowded without extinction and what is obvious: we are here because of the extinction of billions of species and many species are not and will not be here thanks to Homo sapiens too. Unfortunately there was no luck and instead the museum selected this:
After visiting the exhibition, I think they were right after all. The event is a lot more low= key that I thought it to was going to be. In any case, that is what this blog is for: to show the sruff you >might< have seen but couldn’t for one reason or another…
In the meantime here’s the lonely Neanderthal…
And a Megaloceros… Extinct indeed!
Embargo lifted and here we are…Kudos to John R. Hutchinson! He has made it once again and this time in the prestigious science magazine NATURE. Hutchinson is not only a man of science, but also a man with imagination and sense of humour, so needless to say it is always a pleasure to work with him. This time it was time to tackle Nature with an article about the evolution of the posture from early crocodilian forms to birds (with dinosaurs in between). His remarkable 3D restorations and animations showing the evidence of posture change had its hilarious moments for me (for the sake of clarity, the crocodile looked like vary funny airplane). It didn’t take long for me to come with this “tree of life” idea using some intermediate forms before embarking on flight…. well almost, I’m sure some will object to see this T.rex hanging out on a branch… and as a feathery sort-of porcupine… I must be joking..!
In any case, the sequence we selected to illustrate the evolutionary suquence was a crocodile, Marasuchus, Coelophysis, T rex, Microraptor and Enantiornis.
Youtube videos: http://youtu.be/vwQR1Rh2Q9E and http://youtu.be/g7FSTgX6nOY
It is not the first time John and I haveollaborated together. He is noted for his research in estimated mass and the relationship with kinetics (specially in big extinct animals). A while ago I illustrated his now notorious article debunking the possibility that T. rex was a fast runner… an article that annoyed a few, but simply and scientifically stated the obvious. Mass and gravity matters and T. rex was not simply an oversized chicken or a “roadrunner from hell”!
So we are back to NATURE…Since the article unfortunately didn’t make it to be the cover of the magazine, here you have it (as an exclusive) logo included and all!
Posted in crocodilians, Dinosaurs, maniraptora, Raptors, Tetrapods, Theropods, tyrannosaurs, Uncategorized
Tagged Coelophysis, Enantiornis, John R.Hutchinson, Marasuchus, Microraptor, Nature, T.rex
You won’t see many prehistoric mammals in this blog… but after last year’s visit to Bristol University I couldn’t resist to take a few pictures and do a restoration of a fantastic Smilodon skeleton mount they (inexplicably, it should be put on display at the museum!) have in the vaults of the the Wills Memorial building, for the exclusive enjoyment of students, teachers and workers. The ferocious attack posture was an inspiration to give it the “Luis Rey treatment”… drama at its (mammalian) best!
Obviously I’m expecting to do a soon restoration of the “perfect” Scelidosaurus they have at the museum.
Finally the day has come: here are some (updated and upgraded) pictures of the opening of the now famous Stone & Company Hatching The Past exhibition (coming soon to a town near you). The murals are 3 meters high, so you can have an idea of the dimensions… they are lifesize! I have never worked on this scale before so I’m very glad to see how it worked at the end.
This section of the exhibition is a playground for children. It includes nest models and baby dinosaur models for the children to play and photograph themselves with… they also can be dressed as baby dinos under the attentive eyes of their gigantic parents!
And here we have Nick Regester and Alenna Magovern showing their excellent printing job. They, together with Flo and Charlie Magovern have been responsible for this incredible mount. Hard, but rewarding work indeed! Congratulations to them!
This is my contribution to Dave Hone‘s new project. He is trying to gather funds for research into a very well preserved Daspletosaurus skull that once again gives evidence that tyrannosaurs were cannibals or at least had fierce battles between them. For more information do visit https://www.microryza.com/projects/cannibalism-in-giant-tyrannosaurs. Very soon, there is going to be available a signed, canvased limited edition print of this artwork to help fund the effort.
As we have seen before, we have come a long way in reconstructing tyrannosaurs and the new feathery coverage gives us a complete new dimension of how these animals may have looked. To show how I normally work my pictures I’m adding the original sketch that served as the basis… The title “cannibalism” also suggests scavenging… but there’s much more information that is being extracted from the remains that challenge any straightforward notion of scavenging.
Instead I wanted to show two adults battling and scarring each other… the battle might lead to the death of one or simply the scarring of each other… there’s also evidence that the some of the wounds would have healed… so the animal survived the bruising!
Sixty years ago children and dinosaur fans in general marvelled at the great illustrations of Rudolph Zallinger (both at the Yale Museum famous mural and at children books like Dinosaurs And Other Prehistoric Reptiles)… Artistically his stylish artwork remain a landmark, but Random House decided that given that there is an abyss between what was dinosaur science then and what we know about dinosaurs today it was about time that the Golden Book of Dinosaurs had a drastic revamping.
Brachiosaurus: from the iconic image of perennial swamp-dweller back in the Fifties to land-strutting and conifer roamer as we see it today. And Allosaurus? Well, Zallinger inspired the Marx toys I used to play with when I was a little kid (dragging tail an all)… but now we think of it as the nimble lion (or at least the leopard) of the Jurassic. Many grew up with The Golden Book of Dinosaurs and Other Reptiles in the late Fifties, Sixties and even the Seventies. It has been quite a challenge to completely re-do it. I feel fortunate (and humbled… never pretended to fill in Zallinger’s shoes) to have been given the opportunity to re-work the piece of memorabilia, once again with my partner in a series of books for children: the legendary Dr. Robert T. Bakker. With his palaeontological wisdom and imagination and his inimitable style, together we have had the challenging responsibility of the updating and rehashing of this also legendary, classic, “cult” item.
And it has been a mammoth task. Despite the obvious cover reference, we don’t pretend a direct comparison between the two books or indeed the artwork… we just wanted to show of how dramatically our view of dinosaurs has changed in only sixty years, using as a vehicle a publication that has been familiar to everybody fall these years.
Given that for technical reasons we spent an over long time to finish it (more than two years), it comes without saying that we had to keep changing and updating the enormous stream of new information we get from dinosaurology these days… and all is captured here. It is updated to the last minute! I have applied every possible digital and non-digital technique in anchoring Dr. Bob’s overflowing, expert narrative… and I’m hoping that the results are not disappointing. You will be the judge.
I am not allowed to show more than the cover for the time being (the book will be on sale in September… yes we will have to wait that long unfortunately!), but in the meantime in this Blog I will be showing once in a while snippets and artwork outtakes of the book that couldn’t make it to the final version… or artwork that differs drastically from what you are going to see there. There’s a lot of new stuff in my vaults now…Be prepared for a really thrilling ride in vertebrate evolution… just to give a little advance notice: any of my old T. rex depictions will become outdated instantly… and this book (and Dr. Bob Bakker) are to be hold responsible for it!