This charming hardback volume, dating from 1993 and published by Grange Books, contains some illustrations that are best described as...'unusual'. Or perhaps 'quirky'. Unfortunately, the names of the illustrator(s) involved aren't provided, with the credit going only to Maltings Partnership (who appear to be still going strong). The text, by Rupert Matthews, is actually rather good and free from the more embarrassing gaffes that befoul kids' dinosaur books, although he does claim that "most experts" agree that Tyrannosaurus was an obligate scavenger. Yeah, whatever...
Naturally I've picked out the weirdest specimens from this book for your viewing pleasure, and I'm afraid that most of them are theropods. For some reason most of the herbivorous dinosaurs present have an appearance that's quite usual for the period, but the theropods often look all-out surreal and ever-so-slightly nightmarish. Here's a good example.
Since you were no doubt wondering, the above illustration is meant to depict Ceratosaurus. I've mentioned before how jobbing illustrators can't really be blamed for getting it wrong if they aren't provided with the right information, but, wow. Human musculature? Really? In fact, this has ended up looking like a super-ripped steroid-abusing version of that absurd 'Dinosauroid' thing (with added tail). Moving on...
Granted, it's less odd than the Ceratosaurus - but it's still pretty weird. Coelophysis did at least actually have a pretty long neck and tail. Apart from the hands, though, the head here is again very strange - is anyone else reminded of a dolphin?
On the opposite page, and ratcheting up the quirkiness level, we have the bipedal super-salamander of doom.
Run, non-specific fat little green thingies! Run for your lives!
Oh, by the way - have you ever noticed how much the dome on Pachycephalosaurus' head looks like someone's arse? What do you mean, it doesn't? Look, I trust dodgy 1990s restorations when it comes to establishing what dinosaurs looked like. You'll be telling me that dromaeosaurs had feathers next.
...When everyone knows they were surreal, Giger-esque monstrosities, with snaking necks and tails, shark-black eyes and sinister zipper grins. A certain Niroot P (yes, him again) insists that this restoration is worse than the one that featured in Know the World of Dinosaurs. I'm not so sure, but it is at least a lot more frightening. Perhaps LITC should hold a 'terrible 1990s Velociraptor face-off' to decide once and for all.
What do you get if you cross an ankylosaur, a glyptodont and an egg? This.
As I've already said, most of the non-theropods in this book actually emerge with their dignity intact, their appearances being rather anatomically incorrect to modern eyes but in keeping with what was common at the time. The sauropods are rather generic and pretty indistinguishable from one another, but they aren't as bizarre as the likes of Ceratosaurus and Velociraptor. The page below is of interest because it profiles an animal that later turned out to be a chimera, namely "Ultrasauros" (to prove this is the case - and that the book is not referring to the original Ultrasaurus from South Korea - I've included the text). You may recall that "Ultrasauros" also popped up in Dinosaurs! magazine. Reading about this non-existent animal in old books is always sweetly nostalgic.
One more scary theropod for the road. "Hello children. My name's Mr Staurikosaurus and I'll be your friendly guide to the Late Triassic..."
Many thanks to Niroot for letting me borrow this book. As to what's coming next, I've just got hold of a copy of Alan Charig's A New Look at the Dinosaurs, which features some old-fashioned art that, like the work of Neave Parker, is obsolete but still gorgeous...