Monday, June 13, 2011

Vintage Dinosaur Art: More Dinosaurs!

Keen followers of this blog (who surely number into the hundreds of thousands at least by now) may remember that, back in May, I took a look at the first issue of Dinosaurs! magazine from back in the early '90s. However, with all 104 issues at my disposal, it seemed a shame to stop there. Here, then, are 8 more images from throughout the history of the magazine, naturally selected for dino-nerd-entertainment value (rather than artistry. I'm just not fair).

First up: perhaps one of the strangest renditions of Brachiosaurus that I've ever seen, from issue 4. This is another creation from Neil Lloyd (he of brown tyrannosaur fame), and to be fair to him his other Brachiosaurus illustrations do resemble the slightly overweight Giraffatitan that was standard back then. That being so, this is probably an attempt at foreshortening that has gone horibly wrong. Have a gaze and a wonder. At least Lloyd's switched from brown to green. Lovely. (To Lloyd's credit, he's only included one claw on the forefeet - something artists still repeatedly get wrong to this day.)

Going back to issue 3, as I didn't wish to open with an incomplete image: here we have a classic battle between Allosaurus and Stegosaurus by artist Tony Gibbons. Unfortunately neither of them look convincingly like the real thing, with Allosaurus coming off somewhat worse; note the generic head, tiny hands, enormous scales, and uncomfortably-positioned leg. Still, it could be worse - Stegosaurus' left foot appears to have become detached from its body. Whoops.

From issue 24: Baryonyx is one of the most famous British dinosaurs, with its long jaws, single midline crest and stumpy, four-fingered hand with three atrophied digits being instantly recognisable. Wait, what? I love how suave it looks, too. A spinosaur with class.

Speaking of spinosaurs, issue 29 profiled Spinosaurus itself, and as was de rigueur back in the early '90s (see also: Inside Dinosaurs) it had a 'carnosaur' head and four fingers, as in the below illustration by Barry Croucher. Except when, as on the front cover and centre spread, it had three. Consistency was not Spinosaurus' strong point.

Below: Saurornithoides as nightmare fuel. Don't look into the eyes. Don't look into the eyes. Don't look into the eyes.

I still absolutely adore the 'History in Pictures' cartoons, detailing episodes from the history of palaeontology. The below image is an excerpt from the first part of 'The Bone Wars', chronicling the rivalry between Cope and Marsh. I think the expressions on their faces when Marsh mocks Cope for his Elasmosaurus error are just fantastic; Cope looks utterly horrified, while Marsh looks like a sneering Bond villain. Wonderful stuff.

Finally, two pages that just haven't stood the test of time at all. Issue 55 profiled "Ultrasauros", trumpeted as being "among the heaviest and tallest dinosaurs that ever lived", "taller than a four storey building", etc. etc. Illustrations depicted a green Giraffatitan-like behemoth, so incomprehensibly Brobdingnagian that it shrank the little palaeontologist used in the scale diagram to the extent that he was barely visible. A shame, then, that it turned out that "Ultrasauros" didn't exist at all - it was a chimera composed of Supersaurus bits and a big, but not THAT big brachiosaur scapulacoracoid (see this entry at SV-POW). The profile of "Majungatholus", the tiny pachycephalosaur from Madagascar, is just downright funny - you'll probably know it better as the abelisaur Majungasaurus. They weren't to know, they weren't to know...and hey, that's not a bad illustration of a generic pachycephalosaur by artist Graham Rosewarne.

P.S. There will of course be even more Dinosaurs! to meet demand/if I run out of ideas. Stay tuned...


  1. That Baryonyx is classic! Looks like he's flipping the bird.

  2. I remember that part of The Bone Wars cartoon!

  3. Yeah, Cope is HILARIOUS in that. I wish Kate Beaton ( would do a Bone Wars series.

  4. Wow, vivid memories being brought back by these illustrations!

  5. @LaurenceB Glad to hear it! If you want to see more then, er, you probably will eventually.

  6. David: Kate Beaton would do a fantastic job of it! Great to know you're an admirer of her work too!

  7. I've got the Brazilian version(s), from #1 to #78 (and an extra 34, because my previous one lacked the central pages). Nostalgia is a dire underappreciation of what I feel toward these magazines.

    Somewhere I've read that they went up to a hundred-something... somewhere... in UK? Is this for real?

  8. @Chromatic Faun: The magazine ran up to issue 104 in the UK (although the final issue was an index).

  9. The perspective of Marsh, and his attitude, are totally from a villian of Bond or Marvel!

    And about confusing a pachycephalosaur and an abelisaur, thats probably not worse than confusing a temnospondyl fragment of skull with a male cone of a Lepidodendralean plant...

  10. Please can you help me for this magazine. because i study is dinosaurs. but this magazine is came 18 issue in turkey. not come other issue plase.


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