Monday, February 14, 2011

Vintage Dinosaur Art: Naturgeschichte Geologie und Paläontologie

Natural History Book from 1888

Valeriana Solaris has shared some great scans from an old German natural history text on her DeviantArt account, bundled together in a .zip file. Naturgeschichte Geologie und Paläontologie was published in 1888 by J.A. Schreiber, and its dinosaurs are heavily indebted to Cope's Laelaps and Waterhouse Hawkins' famous Crystal Palace sculptures of Megalosaurus and Iguanodon.

Though this book is dated 1888, I wonder if the engravings are from an earlier edition, as with the digs at Bernissart in 1878, the knowledge of Iguanodon had increased and it was now believed to have a bipedal "kangaroo stance."

A scene from the Triassic includes an early, almost bear-like take on the temnospondyl Mastodonsaurus and Belodon, a phytosaur.

The book also includes excuisite reproductions of famous German fossils such as Archaeopteryx, Compsognathus, and Pterodactylus.

The book's treatment of the Holocene is particularly strong, a dramatic scene of mastodons and musk oxen grazing in a mountainous landscape as a caveman defends his family against a marauding bear.

Valeria has shared these at high resolution for use by collage artists and other creative types. Head over to her DeviantArt account to check out the large files. She has also written a blog post about it.

Updated 2/5/11: Added more context to the Iguanodon illustration.


  1. this is amazing. The Laelops is much more detailed than the Cope image. It's all wonderfully rendered and vibrantly colored. thanks for posting.

  2. LOL! I love the guy blocking the bear's punch in the last image!
    These images have wonderful personality.

  3. Oh man, I love stuff like this. And how cool is it to discover such a book had been in your family's collection for so long?

  4. Ich finde Paläontologie gern!!!! And nein, I didn't use google translator.

  5. Where can I find and buy this book?
    Thank you very much.


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