Fitting after Marc provided us another excellent analysis of Ely Kish's work: Christoph Hoppenbrock called my attention to this photo he took in the Philippines. Case study in what shrink wrapping looks like in a real animal, and why the world of paleoart is better for having abandoned the trope. An ailing saltwater crocodile.
No issues with paleoartists depicting sick animals, but when you've got an entire environment populated by them, it sure looks like a Mesozoic plague is happening!
Christoph was kind enough to point me to some photos of healthy crocodiles from the same Philippine farm. These are Mindoro, or Philippine Crocodiles, and Christoph notes that our poor, sick, friend above may be the same.
Photo by Roberto Verzo, via Flickr.
Quite a dramatic difference, and a powerful example of how far we've come in allowing our prehistoric subjects to bear the muscle, flesh, and fat they would have surely had.