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GSP ART BOOK!



THE COMPLETE ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO DINOSAUR SKELETONS: a resume of contents.

Well, we've all heard the odd comment or two on this book, but AFAIK no one's
really said much about it. Mine arrived this morning. Previously, I got the
title completely wrong: the book is actually called _The Complete Illustrated
Guide to Dinosaur Skeletons_ (hardcover, 98 pp, ISBN 4-05-400656-6, Gakken Mook,
undated). I don't know how you get hold of it: please do not pester Greg,
details of the publishers are somewhere in the archives.

The book is longer than it is tall, at a guess I'd say 30 x 15 cm. Pages are
glossy. It begins with 15 pages of colour plates featuring 19 pieces of art. The
familiar ones (familiar to me that is) are: _Dilophosaurus_ in rain storm,
_Yangchuanosaurus_ pair, _Allosaurus atrox_ head, running _Tyrannosaurus_ pair,
tree-view of _Apatosaurus ajax_, Morrison scene (_Brachiosaurus_, _Barosaurus_
& _Ceratosaurus_), _Allosaurus_ chasing _Stegosaurus_, and _Albertosaurus_
attacking _Anchiceratops_ pond scene. 

(Note: names used here are the ones used in the book.)

Ones that I've previously seen before from unpublished photos are:
therizinosaurs next to stream, _Erlikosaurus_ head, head-pushing
_Homalocephale_, and _Anhanguera_ pair. But but but - - entirely new (to me) are
(get this): complete version of _Oviraptor_ chased by _Troodon_ (you can see the
_Oviraptor_ in the Dodson Encyclopedia) in Mongolian sand-dune scene, head study
of _Pachycephalosaurus wyomingensis_ (not the new Trebold spiky specimen),
_Triceratops_ and _Torosaurus_ together, _Maiasaura_ nesting colony,
_Hypacrosaurus_ watching _Velociraptor langstoni_, _Archaeopteryx_ and
_Pterodactylus_ sea-side scene and _Kritosaurus_ pair at nest mound. 

The latter is not a new picture for me (it's in Mike Benton's _New Scientist_
article _Myth of the Mesozoic Cannibals_), but it's been so extensively revised
it may as well be. Babies were previously running all over the place in earlier
versions. They've now gone, and are replaced by the huge nest mounds.
Importantly, Greg has also modified his hadrosaurs: they now have a thick mass
of muscular tissue filling in the curve between the neck and shoulders. I was
intrigued by this, and it's also included tentatively in some diagrams (p. 31).
With regard to the strongly downcurved backs and upcurved necks, Greg writes 'It
has been suggested that ornithopods with strongly downcurved backs supported the
head with deep, withers-like neck and shoulder muscles and tendons similar to
those of horses and other ungulates'. This is new to me: if it's been formally
proposed, can anyone provide a citation? The result is 'thick-necked'
hadrosaurs. 

Pp. 19-32 present osteology, history of restoration, breakdowns on how dinosaur
bits and pieces should be restored, and notes on colour and soft tissues.
Essentially, a 'how to' guide. Those who are familiar with Greg's 1987 paper
from _DP&P_ (Czerkas & Olson) will recognise most of the text: it reads pretty
much the same, but with a fair deal of new info added in here and there. Of
course, all of this text is in Japanese: this section is translated on pp. 86-
90 (very small text).

'Meat and potatoes' is pp. 33-83: 71 skeleton reconstructions of different
archosaur taxa, many of which are multiview. Many of these are entirely new, and
include _Sinraptor dongi_, _Monolophosaurus jiangi_, _Mononykus_, _Alxasaurus_,
_Riojasaurus incertis_, that nemegtosaur-headed _Opisthocoelicaudia_,
_Tuojiangosaurus multispinus_, _Huayangosaurus taibii_, various ceratopians
(including the bizarrely large-skulled, short-tailed _Leptoceratops gracilis_ -
 it really is weird) and various hadrosaurs (including a crested _Bactrosaurus_
and _Tsintaosaurus_: Greg argues that, based on two new finds, it is unicorned
after all). 

Greg's stegosaurs now have rather straighter necks than they used to, and he has
updated them to show the 'new' (=old) alternating plate arrangement (meaning
substantial mutilation of the allosaur-chasing-stegosaur painting) and the
ossicle-covered throat sac. The straighter neck updates the previous update
(published in _Garden Park Paleontological Soc. Newsletter_). Multiviews of
super-fat _Euoplocephalus_ (pp. 64-5) have previously been seen in the Dinosaur
Society's publication, as has the _Sauropelta_ which is included (multiview) in
the section on trackway evidence (pp. 26-9). Greg's slow-walking _Triceratops_
(p. 27, in multiview) looks rather different from those we've seen before, as
it's not running. 

Sauropods in paintings and drawings have sometimes been modified, they now
having the iguana-style dermal row. A drawing you can see in _PDOTW_, featuring
ambush of _Omeisaurus_ by a bunch of yangchuanosaurs (with the molested sauropod
rearing up and missing a chunk from its thigh) has been changed: the sauropods
are now _Mamenchisaurus_, with longer, more curved necks and, of course, those
spines. The pterosaurs in the same picture, incidentally, now have  more sticky-
out hindlimbs, and more extensive patagia. There are 3 skeletal views of 3
pterosaurs: _Rhamphorhynchus muenstri_, _Pterodactylus kochi_ and _Pteranodon
longiceps_ (p. 83). None of the non-dinosaur archosaurs that Greg has also
reconstructed are to be found in this book, but then that's hoping for too much
isn't it. See papers by Parrish and Sereno for those.

_Staurikosaurus pricei_ and _Herrerasaurus_ are substantially updated.

The skeletal views are accompanied by text about the various higher taxa. Again,
this read pretty much like the _DP&P_ paper, but with updates where appropriate.
Some of the sections (e.g. on pterosaurs) are almost entirely new. Translations
are on pp. 90-96.

So.. hopefully this serves to whet the proverbial appetite. If you are a fan of
GSP art, to own this book is to have died and gone to heaven. It is stunning.
It looks set to become easily one of the most invaluable texts for the dinosaur
illustrator. If you like dinosaur art, if you like GSP art, you'll like this
book, to say the least. I can't praise it highly enough.

That'll do. I'll accept a dollar cheque Greg (joke).

"Earth. Hitler. 1938."
"I beg your pardon"

DARREN NAISH
dwn194@soton.ac.uk