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Re: PERSONAL EXAMINATION OF SPECIMENS
> George has the correct point that you need to illustrate specimens correctly
> and with high quality in as many different views as possible. I can't count
> how many times I have looked through texts looking for something and coming
> up short, or coming up with everything BUT what I was looking for. Or,
> looking through a paper, a monograph even, and finding only line
> drawings of the bones and only in one angle...
A few points on the subject of illustration;
1) There is only room in a given paper to illustrate a bone from so
many angles. You could show it from more angles if you shrunk down the
drawings from different angles to make room, but at the loss of detail.
It is a trade off.
2) An artist only has so much time to work before the paper is due
for publication. Detail will need to be sacrificed to some extent for
expediency. Not counting monographs that can be built up over years, most
scientific papers need to get finished relatively soon, and it is
unlikely that there is time to produce ultrafine detail.
3) Making black lines and dots on paper to convince the reader that
he or she is looking at a three dimensional object is a rather tricky
business. A few lines or dots in the wrong place or not emphsized quite
enough can significantly alter the apparant shape of the image. Moreover,
it is likely that two people will "interpret" the three-dimensional
reality that the artist is trying to depict in different ways; after all
they aren't looking at the REAL THING, just as close as the artist can
come by organizing ink stains on paper.
To sum it up, monograph levels of detail are usually unfeasable, and
the artist is not to blame if drawings are not 150% reliable depictions of
real, three dimensional objects. The artist tries to get the important
points across to the reader as best he can. To gain a full
understanding of the real 3-D fossil it is best to go look at the real
thing. I am not supporting especially sloppy work, just noting that even
the most skilled artist has limitations. Even the best drawing is NOT the
real thing, and basing taxonomic decisions on illustrations is a bad