Friday, March 12, 2010

Vintage Dinosaur Art: More Rudolf Freund

A pair of Archaeopteryx by Rudolf Freund. From LIFE Magazine, October 19, 1959

Yes, more of old Rudy Freund, also featured last week. Not that I don't have a huge pile of other deserving pieces... I just haven't had much time to scan them in lately! Plus, I couldn't resist posting this lovely reconstruction of this Archaeopteryx couple. The piece was included with the sprawling Lincoln Barnett-penned "Where Evolution Stands Today" in a 1959 issue of LIFE. It was the final chapter in another of the magazine's serial epics. There are plenty of other great Freund pieces as well, including Seymouria, Icthyostega, and a particularly entertaining illustration of an australopithecine putting the hurt on a pack of baboons.

I also have to ask, though I may be betraying my ignorance of botany: WTF is that flower doing on that cycad in the background? It sure seems all kind of wrong to me. The Jurassic is way too early for flowers of any kind, and I've never heard of a flower on a cycad. I'd be deeply grateful if someone could set me straight, if set straight I need to be.

UPDATE: Ian of Other Branch had a good answer: It's not a cycad, it's a Bennettitale. I found a terrific illustration of one on this page. It's from the University of Maryland, and comes from a class taught by Tom Holtz, a paleontologist of some note. Scroll down to the bottom; it's the second to last image. Thanks, Ian.


  1. Time-travelling Archaeopteryx, naturally.

  2. the bennettitales were relatives of cycads and very similar in appearance but had flower-like structures.

  3. Bennettitales! Thanks, Ian. I had no idea they could have flowerish things. Very cool.

  4. they may have even been pollinated by butterflyish things.


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