A History of Paleontology
By Jane P. Davidson
This interesting 217 page book takes a very detailed look at the
history of paleontological illustration (both vertebrates
and invertebrates) and it includes numerous black and white copies of
old dinosaur illustrations. The book also contains
several color illustrations of prehistoric animals, but only one color
illustration of a dinosaur, and it happens to be a modern
illustration of a Deinonychus by Luis Rey. The illustration is
beautiful but extremely imaginative to the point of
The Deinonychus looks like a toothed turkey, complete with
In one chapter the author presents an interesting discussion of
paleoartists and the trend towards wrapping dinos in
fantastical colors and spots. She writes that with new
discoveries of dinosaurs showing their relationship to birds,
"there came a change in how integuments were colored. Suddenly it
became almost de riguer to
show one's dinosaurs with
spots, stripes, and even day-glo colors. Similarly, when some specimens
were found with feathers, dinosaurs almost
immediately received all manner of feathery appurtenances. From a
strictly aesthetic standpoint, these changes have become
almost irritating. One gets tired of brightly colored fauna
traipsing about the landscape. There is something distressing
a Mamenchisaurus the color of
mushy watermelon, such as Frank Hood's restoration in a recent popular
book about dinosaurs.
One gets weary of wattles and feathered displays ostensively used to
attract mates. We don't know that dinosaurs were spotted,
striped, brightly colored, or feathered.Yet, more and more often, such
animals stand before us in life restorations."
Jane P. Davidson hits the nail on the head on this unfortunate trend as
far as I am concerned.
Get a copy of this book for the numerous vintage dinosaur illustrations
(although get the Debus and Debus book
also for the inclusion of one of the most ludicrous examples of
dinosaur paleofantasy art: the Rey Deinonychus.
Another early illustration of a Stegosaurus by Frank Bond.