Saturday, April 15, 2017

Prehistoric Times revisits a great paleoartist

The new issue of Prehistoric Times (#120, Winter 2017) has a great article on the paleo-artistry of Zdenek Burian, including reproductions of two paintings containing Dunkleosteus terrelli (then Dinichthys) from 1955 and 1967.
I'm not reproducing them here for copyright reasons, but while he worked assiduously with paleontologists to make his illustrations (which appeared most famously in Dr. Josef Augusta's very influential Prehistoric Animals (1956), where Burian got co-credit on the cover), his Dunk is a little odd to me. It's the most smooth and streamlined Dunk I've ever seen, tapering perfectly like a nuclear submarine to an elongated teardrop.
That muscle and skin made the armor almost invisible is certainly possible, but the eel-like tail isn't very substantive, and I am certain the pectoral fins are too small: they needed to precisely control a ton of head/armor stretching several feet ahead of them. All that said, the illustrations are wonderful, bringing to life the great predator, its relatives, and its surroundings: I'm looking for a copy of Prehistoric Animals right now.




7 comments:

Laurence Clark Crossen said...

https://weather.com/science/nature/video/scientists-mull-mystery-of-tunnels

Matt Bille said...

Now that's downright fascinating.

Laurence Clark Crossen said...

How large would the armadillo be? Do they dig tunnels the same size as their girth?

Laurence Clark Crossen said...

There have been armadillo's the size of cars but it has been thought unlikely that these giant forms lived in burrows. For example, the giant wombat called a Diprotodon (in Australia). I think they did live in burrows.

Laurence Clark Crossen said...

this shows the size:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7o3fI2ZlYJI

Laurence Clark Crossen said...

I do not think they were dug by giant ground sloths.

Laurence Clark Crossen said...

According to one video, Frank concluded that the smoothness of the walls of some burrows is due to the friction from the fur. So some of these equaled the girth.