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Two points on the cover of My Beloved Brontosaurus. First, the artist
is Mark Stutzman - not a professional paleoartist, but quite a skilled
illustrator. And yes, the sauropod is super huge, but that's because
the dinosaur is larger than life in our collective imagination. I'm
not trying to be cute by saying that. That's intentional. Just like
the thunderclouds moving in to tie in with the dinosaur once called
the "thunder lizard." Hell, I'm on the cover feeding the dinosaur
flowers. Skin and size is where the suspension of disbelief lies?
As for using the name "Brontosaurus", that's because I'm using the
old, stubby-skulled version of "Brontosaurus" as a baseline to gauge
how far our understanding of dinosaurs has come since the 1980s. I'm
not advocating that "Brontosaurus" come back. The technical groundwork
has not been laid down for that yet. But I'm invoking the old sauropod
as an icon of how new science is altering the dinosaurs that are most
cherished in the public imagination.
- Brian Switek
On Mon, Apr 29, 2013 at 2:16 PM, <GSP1954@aol.com> wrote:
> Is it really too much to ask the people doing digital dinosaur animation to
> at least try to get things close to right?
> The third NOVA program on Australia. Hadrosaurs galloping on their slender
> forelimbs. No way, they trotted or paced using the arms to add some speed
> and especially turning agility. (Some of the footage may have been picked up
> from an earlier program.) Galloping Triceratops. Even assuming it was as fast
> as rhinos the trot/gallop transition speed at that mass is so high that it
> would probably have trotted or paced, even if smaller ceratopsians galloped
> at that speed. And stiff backed running quadrupedal dinosaurs may never have
> galloped like flexible backed quad mammals. Stegosaurs trotting when at
> most they ambled like elephants. The sauropods were walking with absurdly
> flexed elbows. The sauropod skin was all wrong. Sort of like crocodilians.
> We have samples of sauropod skin. All these decades of publishing on this
> stuff and often its like we are still in the early 70s.
> Then there are the apatosaurs in the ad for My Beloved Brontosaurus near
> the front of the current Sci Amer. The form is not too bad actually. But the
> one with the person feeding it is super duper colossal. The head is about 5
> feet long. And since sauropods were probably omnivores that picked up small
> animals for the calcium, proteins etc, one that big would probably eat a
> human rather than accept a few leaves (too bad the brachiosaurs didn't eat the
> bratty kids in the trees in JP1, they could have done it). Only if that huge
> bit of "Amphicoelius" vertebrae from near the top of the Morrison at Garden
> Park is an apatosaur could one be as big as shown. That would be about
> 80-100 tonnes (compared to 20 t for the mounted specimens). I suspect that the
> dorsal if it is real is an apatosaur or similar robust sauropod because they
> have such huge dorsals relative to their mass etc. Most irritating is that
> the skin is again wrong. What is it about skin? Even major paleoartists are
> still getting it wrong in many cases. Why?
> Odd that the name is Brontosaurus. I tend to agree. The type Apatosaurus is
> probably not diagnostic, while Brontosaurus is based on the Yale mounted
Written in Stone, My Beloved Brontosaurus (Coming April 2013)