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Re: Science of JP and The Lost World/ Stephen Czerkas




> Ray McAllister <mcallist@gate.net> wrote:
> My big question is "Can a mosquito's blood machine penetrate a dino
hide?".

According to a talk presented at the Kimball Art Center in Park City, Utah
on January 29, 1994, entitled <Reconstructing Dinosaurs>, sculptor Stephen
Czerkas had determined that dinosaurs did not have particularly thick skin.
 In fact, I believe that he used the words "extremely thin" in this
context.  He stated that his examination of fossil dinosaur skin led him to
conclude that sauropod skin was a mere 1/16" thick!  Most unlike the
elephants to which they are often compared.  On the other hand, he stated
that Ankylosaurus skin was most unusual in measuring 1 1/2" thick.  And
watch out for those osteoderms!  

Stephen Czerkas, as you may know, has done a great deal of research (thus
far unpublished) on the subject of dinosaur skin impressions, including
helping excavate Carnotaurus impressions.  He even textures his dinosaur
sculptures with skin molded from fossil skin impressions.  He voiced strong
objection to the "spandex" skins depicted in some modern dinosaur
restorations.  Based on his evaluation of Carnotaurus and "mummified"
duckbill remains, the thin skin would have formed many wrinkles, as you see
on reptiles today.  Stephen Czerkas also presented his interpretation of
"the Sternberg duckbill from Wyoming," concluding that duckbill dinosaurs
had tall neural spines along the back and robust dorsal neck ligaments (to
support the heavy head), indicating that the neck was very deep and heavily
muscled, like that of a horse.  This is precisely how Gregory S. Paul
depicts certain duckbill necks in his new book, -The Complete Illustrated
Guide to Dinosaur Skeletons- (to the surprise of one Darren Naish on this
list).  

Stephen Czerkas emphasized that paleoartists must attempt to research the
sources of dinosaur conceptions (and misconceptions) rather than slavishly
copying the works of earlier artists, however "classic."  I'll second that.

On a related tangent, has anyone visited Stephen and Sylvia Czerkas'
Dinosaur Museum in Monticello, Utah?

  -- Ralph W. Miller III     gbabcock@best.com