abel-coverDas Reich der Tiere, 1939
By Othenio Abel


When I was in grade school and high school I had no desire to learn a foreign language.  However, if someone had given
me this book during my formative years, I would have jumped at the opportunity to learn German.  This book is loaded
with black and white and color illustrations from a variety of paleoartists.  Of particular interest is the artwork of
Franz Roubal that is contained in this book.  According to Debus and Debus,  Othenio Abel "often collaborated with
academic painter Franz Roubal in the pictorial and sculptural restoration of prehistoric animals." I had never heard of
Roubal until I visited Norman Felchle's Flickr site (be sure to check it out).  After seeing some of Norman's posts, especially
the Roubal piece's, I had to get a copy of this book.  It took a while to find a copy as it was not available at the familiar online
used book stores such as Abebooks.  I finally found and ordered a copy from a German website.  Despite the fact that I
cannot read German, I was not disappointed when the book arrived because it is loaded with beautiful restorations.  There
are several C. R. Knight restorations that are in this book that I have not seen elsewhere, and the book contains many copies
of Robert Bruce Horsfall's beautiful illustrations of prehistoric mammals.

One other thing: Debus and Debus note in their excellent must-have (if you are into dinosaur collectibles) book,
Paleoimagery, that Abel did significant academic work and wrote extensively about dinosaurs.  However, references to
Abel in recent popular paleontological literature are scarce.  Part of the reason for this, according to Debus and Debus, may
have been related to Abel's association with the Nazi's during World War II.  Debus and Debus note, however, that this
association may have been necessitated in order for Abel to keep his "prominent position" during the war.

If you enjoy collectible dinosaur books, make sure you get a copy of this book.  In fact, put it at the top of your list.


styraco

Styracosaurus by Franz Roubal.  Das Reich der Tiere contains many paintings by Roubal, including dinosaurs, and prehistoric
marine reptiles and mammals.  Most of them are very nice, although in my opinion Roubal generally did a better job illustrating
the prehistoric marine reptiles and mammals than he did with the dinosaurs.  

abel-helo  

I cannot make out who the artist is in this drawing of a Helopus, although the caption appears to state that it was
reconstructed under the direction of Carl Wiman (the signature on the bottom right of the drawing clearly does not
say "Carl Wiman").

moschops

This drawing of a Moschops is by E. Rungias-Fulda.  She also drew a "Paleoscincus" that appears in this book, and
which also appears in Colbert's, Dinosaurs: Their Discovery and Their World.  The Paleoscincus is really nicely well
done, whereas the Moschops illustration is unremarkable.  Rungias-Fulda also prepared an illustration of a Protoceratops
that appears in Roy Chapman Andrews', On the Trail of Ancient Man (thanks to paleoartist Dan Varner for alerting me
to this), and an illustration of a Baluchitherium that appears in A.S. Romer's The Vertebrate Story. These are the only four
illustrations of prehistoric animals by Rungias-Fulda that I am aware of.  If you know of any others, please let me know.


stego

The majority of the illustrations contained in this book are by Abel himself.  Unfortunately, the quality of the illustrations
by the other artists contained in this book makes most (but not all) of Abel's work look amateurish in comparison. 
Nonetheless, a few of Abel's illustrations are fairly decent.

bron

One of two color paintings by C. R. Knight contained in this book.  An uncredited black and white copy of this piece is
also contained in Herbert Wendt's "Before the Deluge."  These are the only two books that I have seen that contain this
piece.

Boy I wish I new how to read German!


Added 8/2/09:

According to paleoartist Dan Varner (perasonal communication):

"E. Rungius Fulda was the cousin of the famous big game painter Carl Rungius. She did the old scupture of a pair of
Protoceratops hatching that can be seen in Colbert 1961. She also created some Mongolian dinosaur drawings for one
of R C Andrews' books from the 1920's. They might be in _On The Trail Of Ancient Man_. I don't have my
Andrews books here at the moment, so I can't be sure. It's difficult to remember as he published essentially the same
book with different titles through the years.    The Knight brontothere color reproduction I think originated with
Osborn's two volume monograph on the Titanotheres as a frontispiece."



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