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Well, that certainly got me more than I bargained for! Sorry for any
offense, Betty - it certainly was not intended. I think you actually missed
the point of my query, and for that I take some responsibility. I tried to
keep it as brief as possible and obviously should have included more detail.
Just to set the record straight, I agree with you that if you get asked (and
paid) to illustrate a particular subject, you would be crazy to say no. If I
had been going to apportion blame, my first choice would also have been with
the publishers, who I am sure have no interest in publishing material with
labels "this may be what Oddosaurus looked like if only we had enough
material to be certain and I could afford to pay someone to research it
properly". The question of accuracy in all sources, be it books for
professionals, children or the general public, is a separate matter and one
that could be discussed here if people wish.
However, my original question was meant to be: -
Leaving aside any questions of whether an illustration should or should not
be published, for any particular picture how do we give it a confidence
rating? In most cases there is no problem, but when the extant material is
eg isolated teeth and skull fragment (Stygimoloch) and we are presented with
a full colour illustration of two males head butting for control of the
herd, do we simply admire the artwork, or do we say "Ah, so that's what
Stygimoloch looked like!"
There are several more such examples I could mention, and I honestly don't
know the answer. Thanks to those who answered my posting, I at least now
have a better idea than I did.
Any problems that this raises could generally be removed if the dinosaur in
question was not included in the first place (for those publications that
insist on pictures for everything) - those with such paltry remains are
generally not of particular significance or interest to the general public
Hope this clears things up,