Vintage Dinosaur Art: I can't believe it's yet more The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs (Part 4)
I'm so very sorry. Unless you're Mark Wildman, in which case, enjoy! (See also parts one, two and three.)
Here we have Lesothosaurus, a primitive ornithischian named after the tiny kingdom of Lesotho in southern Africa (actually, it's completely surrounded by South Africa) - it's no longer considered an ornithopod as described here. Little Lesothosaurus had the long legs of a fast runner, and its pose here is one of the most dynamic of all the dinosaurs in this book. Why its tail is (barely) dragging along the ground is a bit of a mystery but then, hey, it was the 1980s. Anyway, the patterns are quite lovely. And look, a smoking volcano! As Darren Naish pointed out previously, there are an awful lot of palaeoart memes here.
Hypsilophodon is depicted as being equally fleet-of-foot, but without the dragging tail this time. The twig falling from its mouth as it sprints away is a particularly nice touch, and at once adds character and realism to what could otherwise have been a rather dry 'HERE ARE SOME RELATED DINOSAURS' illustration. Note the peculiarly sauropod-like silhouette at the bottom, intended to represent Tenontosaurus...
...Which is here described as a 'hypsilophodont' on steroids. The animal's lo-o-ong tail is dragged and seems to snake off into the horizon, which is similar to the sauropods in this book but quite unlike other ornithopods. It's always a treat to see this animal without any dromaeosaurs attached.
Ah, Iguanodon - it's David Norman's favourite, and so is quite rightly placed front and centre. The 'lizardy kangaroo' look was still very common in popular books at the time, so it must have been refreshing to see it here in a more forward-thinking pose with its tail held well clear of the ground (it does help to avoid breakage). Of course, one cannot possibly mention Iguanodon without also mentioning...
...Its stabby stabby thumbs of theropod doom! Upon seeing its natural foe carrying a board declaring 'FREE HUGS' outside the National Gallery, Iguanodon wanders casually up and appears to be willing to partake in an embarassing embrace with an overly-keen stranger - before righteously plunging its killer thumbs into the irritating hippy's flesh.Or, wasn't this idea always a bit silly? I mean, what were the odds that the theropod would engage Iguanodon in a spot of head-on rasslin'? Still, I love the way Sibbick's rendered their facial expressions.
Hadrosaurs are pretty well represented in this book, and one page is dominated by a magnificent - and frequently reproduced - Parasaurolophus. Its arms may appear incongruously puny here, but Sibbick still brings a marvellously organic and believable quality to this otherwise quite unbelievable creature (that crest...). You've got to feel sorry for poor old Corythosaurus, though, peeking out from behind its more showy cousin and hardly ever included when this illustration appeared elsewhere. At least Corythosaurus is safe in the knowledge that Parasaurolophus is really just compensating for something.
It's 1985, and two Parasaurolophus are shocked when an old palaeoart meme receives an unexpected twist. They thought it was safe to go back into the water...but they are proven wrong, as Grinning Idiot Tyrannosaur (GIT) dives right in afer them! Just fantastic stuff.
Ah, Tsintaosaurus - the dinosaur with crest like a 13-year-old's graffito, incarnated as one of the most hilarious 'serious' dinosaur toys ever made. Also, a Saurolophus sporting a glorious spotted pattern splashing around in a lagoon. It's just lovely. Oh dear...I've run out of things to say, and I have at least one more of these to go yet.
The GIT is back, this time causing a Corythosaurus to be greatly disgusted. Actually, this one's from the section on tyrannosaurs, but hey - I missed it before.
And finally...an example of how times have changed. The Edmontosaurus in the background is masquerading as an "Anatosaurus", but isn't fooling anyone. The Edmontosaurus (er...the one labelled as such, in the foreground) in particular was much copied, and I remember its colours as depicted here becoming almost a uniform for the genus back in the 1990s.