[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

Re: Mesozoic Solnhofen pictures (new request)



Ah, Solnhofen...

There is apparently some disagreement about how to interpret this
environment, but I'll give you my refs anyway.  The previously cited
_Solnhofen_ book, the _Beginnings of Birds_ paper and the _Encyclopedia of
Pterosaurs_ each discuss and illustrate the Mesozoic Solnhofen environment.
 _Solnhofen_ features a nice pen-and-ink illustration of the landscape and
the pterosaur book features a particularly vivid scene painted by John
Sibbick.  This image is the best depiction I've seen.

Setting the wayback machine somewhat further, you may see Charles Knight's
interpretation of the region on page 77 of _Dinosaurs, Mammoths and
Cavemen: the Art of Charles Knight_ by Sylvia Massey Czerkas and Donald F.
Glut, ISBN 0 525  47709 8.  Zdenek Burian's view can be perused on pp.
122-123 of the 1995 paperback edition of _Life Before Man_ by Zdenek
Spinar, ISBN 0 500 27796 6.  I offer these for their historical interest,
as they do not reflect contemporary scientific opinion.

A rare bird's eye view as well as an underwater view are available in the
book, _Dinosaur Worlds: New Dinosaurs, New Discoveries_ by Don (my
apologies to Brian) Lessem, ISBN 1 56397 597 1.  Gregory S. Paul gives
Solnhofen a simple pen-and-ink treatment on page 66 of his _Predatory
Dinosaurs of the World_, ISBN 0 671 68733 6 (paperback).  Finally, Mark
Hallett pays his respects on pages 8, 9, 10, and 12 of _The Puzzle of the
Dinosaur-Bird: the Story of <Archaeopteryx>_, by Miriam Schlein, ISBN 0
8037 1282 0.  I must caution you to refer to the aforementioned pages of
the latter book and avoid judging the book by its cover, as there is, to my
knowledge, no fossil record of brachiosaurids in the Solnhofen lithographic
limestones!  I can only suggest that Schlein and Hallett are imagining that
_Archaeopteryx_ had a larger range than the fossils thus far recovered
indicate, and were therefore not attempting to illustrate Solnhofen in this
painting.  I should also point out that the gingko leaves on view in this
book are modern in appearance and do not match the supposed gingko leaf
fossil found at the site.

In closing, I should point out that the vast majority of fossils recovered
in the Solnhofen limestones are of marine origin, and remains of trees in
particular are exceptionally scant (though not ENTIRELY absent).  Hence,
Gregory S. Paul has stated his understandable objections to depictions of
_Archaeopteryx_ amid huge trees.  And there are many who agree with him. 
On the other hand, the Solnhofen limestones were formed in the bottom of a
lagoon which bordered the Tethys Sea, so perhaps there were trees (though
probably not HUGE trees) in the general vicinity, but preservational bias
may have conspired to exclude them from the record.  Some artists have
chosen to depict the semi-arid near-lagoon environment as supporting only
scrub, but also show araucarian trees on the horizon.

Ralph Miller III <gbabcock@best.com>

How long 'til we have a nice, fat book on the Liaoning Province finds? 
(Heh, heh, heh).

> From: Jeff Poling <jpoling@dinosauria.com>
> To: dinosaur@usc.edu
> Subject: Mesozoic Solnhofen pictures (new request)
> Date: Friday, September 19, 1997 6:54 AM
> 
>    As it turns out, the person I'm looking into this for also needs
> artist(s) conception(s) of the Solnhofen lagoon as it looked in
> _Archaeopteryx_'s day.
> 
>    Anybody know of any online or book images, and where they might be
found?