Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Dryptosaurus for the Digital Age

Paleontology is a field full of holes. There are gaps in the fossil record obscuring evolutionary transitions, and most of the taxa we know and love are not known from complete remains. Then, there's the lag between a taxon's discovery and comprehensive study of its fossils, which can take decades. Dryptosaurus, the New Jersey tyrannosauroid formerly known as Laelaps, is one of those obscure animals that languished for years, thankfully receiving more attention recently, employing today's more robust paleontological methods. Last year, a new assessment of Dryptosaurus was published by Steve Brusatte, Mark Norell, and Roger Benson. Tyler Keillor, an Illinois paleoartist, is setting out to build on the study substantially. With Kickstarter, the crowd-funding platform, he's attempting to raise the money to create a high-quality, accurate reconstruction of Dryptosaurus.

He writes:
My Kickstarter plan is to create the most realistic, accurate, and up to date life-reconstruction of the predatory dinosaur Dryptosaurus. Surpassing the traditionally sculpted life-sized dinosaur busts I've become known for, this will be a full body digital sculpture. I will use the latest paleontological information as the foundation for my creation, and have my work reviewed for accuracy by paleontologist Steve Brusatte, lead author of the most current in-depth study of Dryptosaurus. My references will also include discussions with paleontologist and theropod expert Dr. Thomas Carr.
This is a potentially powerful way for paleoartists to make important contributions to public knowledge without having to rely on commissions or commercial projects, so it would be amazing if paleontology enthusiasts contributed en masse. Here's Keillor's video pitch, part of the requirement for launching a Kickstarter campaign.

Again, check out Keillor's Kickstarter campaign page. If you're unfamiliar with Kickstarter, keep in mind that your pledge will only be required if the project goal - in this case $6,000 US - is met. In the few days since the campaign began, Keillor has reached just over half of his goal. He has until October 7 to make the remaining $3,000. Thanks to Domain of the C-Rex for the tip off.


  1. Glad to see a post of mine inspired one here. I should have made my mine more detailed like this though. xD

  2. He is almost there! Check out what we did by coordinating with Tyler Keillor last month. I posted the link below. Also, are you going to do the Mesozoic Miscellany again? I believe this was an awesome idea and it was great for someone like me who is buried in study all day!


    1. I'm similarly buried, and those posts take way more time than I can devote, so at the moment I'm going to guess it will be a while. Asher or Marc could certainly do one if they wanted, but that is entirely their call.

  3. Hello!I just would like to give a huge thumbs up
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