davidsonA History of Paleontology Illustration, 2008
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 ridiculousness. 
The Deinonychus looks like a toothed turkey, complete with wattles! 

In one chapter the author presents an interesting discussion of  today's 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 about
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 first), and
also for the  inclusion of one of the most ludicrous examples of dinosaur paleofantasy art: the Rey Deinonychus. 


davidson-stego

Another early illustration of a Stegosaurus by Frank Bond.

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