Every year, Mexico’s foremost asset to Palaeontology, Dr. René Hernández Rivera, allowed me the honour to speak to his students at his classroom in the UNAM (Mexican Autonomous University), the true temple of popular knowledge in Mexico from which I myself graduated. His students in turn have also become my students in the sense that everybody there is avidly following anything that is happening with regards of the development and evolution of the Dinosaur Image, specially in recent years. This time I tried to take them in a longer trip… a trip into the depths of paleontological illustration from the 1850’s and beyond… and it started as a normal class of n hour and a half and finished five hours later with everybody still asking for more!
This time things became even more special. Every year these extremely talented students bring some of the artwork they have recently produced for René and myself’s perusal… several years ago I even started to formally collaborate with the nowadays internationally renowned Héctor Munive (Tzipactewani Splintersaurus Wewetlakwikwilo), who started his career quite a few years back and managed to work with caster supremo Robert Gaston in the US and whose sculptures are currently doing the rounds in Europe *thanks among others to Octavio Mateus), widely spreading even to Serbia these days!
As in every year, Héctor came to the talk to show me his newest stuff (and also as always he comes with a little something for my collection)… this time was this beautiful Centrosaurus that he left unfinished for me to customise… more on that in future blogs!
But he was not alone this time: Aldebaran Castañeda Salmorán (Aldo), teacher at the Tlaxcala University, was the revelation this year.
This man has invented a new kind of dinosaur model with a plastic foam technique and a wire skeleton. Accurate, visually stunning dinosaur recreations worth of the most prized model and paleoart collection! On top of that: they are posable! Yes, you can change posture, move neck, limbs and the lot without any hinges. His colour patterns are also very good… and best of all, at the end of the talk (thanks also to René’s generosity) I was graciously rewarded with not one but three of Aldo’s creations! The Deinonychus is simply an astounding miniature work of art and right at every possible level, while the Lambeosaurus and Brachiosaurus are imposing… and BIG! I hope to collaborate with Aldo in the future to create even more marvels and I also hope this note helps him to promote these models beyond the Mexican frontiers towards a worldwide acceptance and distribution. Believe me, you have never seen or FELT any dino model like them: they are actually soft and lightweight!
Here are they proudly displayed on my shelves… you might have to mind the anachronism but I couldn’t resist making the Deinonychus with its hard and sharp claws jump on the back of Lambeosaurus! It’s almost like they are alive!
The class was a total success and the close of proceedings was a riot as usual! There was time to sign and distribute some of my posters that were avidly searched for by all the students…
Thank you Angel Ramírez, Apolinar Hidalgo, Ricardo Servín, Valentina Zavaleta and the lot of great students (and fans) for their help and warm welcome. It was an honor to be there once again. And of course thanks once again to my host and dear friend René Hernández, the generous man that has done more to popularise Palaeontology in Mexico than anybody else in recent times. His team discovery of a rather massive almost complete hadrosaur in Saltillo was just one of many rewards in his career… look at him with that that beautifully preserved Velafrons tail!