Monday, February 28, 2011

Vintage Dinosaur Art: Flash Card Bonanza

I recently scanned a whole bunch of dinosaur flash cards to Flickr. They were published by a company called Media Materials in 1989, and unfortunately the artist is unknown. I reckon that there's more than one responsible, unless it's a single artist who got tired of the project when coloring time came along, because some of the backgrounds are simply sloppy.

The set surveys most of the major dinosaur families, with the ever-popular theropods making up almost half. My set is missing eight; a current eBay auction for the set indicates there were originally thirty. I thought it was a little suspicious that Stegosaurus and Triceratops were left out of the party.

As for the artwork, it's not very remarkable, for the most part reflecting old tropes in dinosaur restoration, including the kangaroo-stance Iguanodon.


Megalosaurus is depicted, as it so often is, as an odd, skulking hunchback. This is another meme I'm going to have to explore in more detail. When I think of Megalosaurus, two images pop into my mind: Buckland's jawbone, and this old pose of the theropod sneaking around.


For Allosaurus, the artist played it safe and ripped offKnight's classic pose.


It's also not exactly up-to-date, with Teratosaurus, then known to be a non-dinosaur rauisuchian, popping in. Of course, these are meant for reading instruction, so researching the literature probably didn't rank high on the list of priorities.


Spinosaurus, not well known in the eighties, looks a bit like a Dimetrodon that's been hit by the notion to rise up on its hind legs and go for a sprint, and is clearly based on the Lapparent and Lavocat reconstruction from 1955 (more on this, and the changing understanding of the big guy in a recent post at The Bite Stuff). He also looks like he's just done something naughty and is fleeing the scene.


You get a bit of submerged sauropod action, too. Such a beloved old chestnut.

There's more where these came from, included in the set linked above as well as the ever-growing Vintage Dinosaur Art pool.


  1. I thought that it looked more like Rudolph Zallinger's Allosaurus
    and the Teratosaurus looks like an image out of Peter Zallinger's Dinosaur book.

  2. Yes, I immediately thought of Peter Zallinger when I posted the Teratosaurus, but unfortunately I didn't scan that particular page, so I didn't mention it here. I waffle on how much of books I should post; though what I'm doing isn't for money and could be considered educational, I hesitate to scan every inch of a work still under copyright.

    I agree about the Rudolph Allosaurus, too. Interesting how he took the Knight pose for a new take on Allosaurus, and then this artist picked it up from there.

  3. I was wondering about that. I've been trying to find time to scan the many books i have and wondered how much I should edit out. It's nice to know that others are having this dilemma as well.

  4. I am, too. I love Flickr, but it's not really designed to host these kinds of images, which is understandable. I also have no idea what to do about the licensing settings - clearly, most of these are copyrighted, but not by the people uploading them. That's why I make sure to list the original publication details with everything I scan in.

  5. I was finally able to scan some more stuff. check it out.!cpZZ1QQtppZZ20

  6. The 1955 Spinosaurus article referenced has been removed by Wikipedia.

  7. Have you found the missing 8 cards?


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