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Diplodocus longus by jconway Diplodocus longus by jconway
Yay, meta-palaeontography.

When I was about fourteen or fifteen, I went to an exhibition called "The Great Russian Dinosaurs" at the Australian Museum in Sydney. Fresh-faced from my readings of Bakker, I was excited, and looking for a fight with all the stuffy orthodoxy I read so much about. Luckily, I found myself outraged at once at the mounting of the skeletons. Hadrosaurs rearing high! Ribs not properly swept back! I was spluttering with the kind of smugness that only a teenage fanatic can have, and decided that something must be said. So, I bailed up one of the palaeontologists travelling with the exhibition, and confronted him about one of the most heinous of crimes against the Light of the Dinosaur Renaissance: an ankylosaur with semi-sprawling front legs.

With a supercilious smile I enquire politely as to why he had mounted the creature in such a way. He smiled and said "Real animals move -- they change position sometimes". How was I supposed to fight with that? All my trackway data, my shoulder anatomy arguments, rendered moot by an evasive side-step. So, I thought, I suspect this man is an idiot; and I know just how to test him: asked him if he thought Velociraptor had feathers. "Maybe" he said, without a trace of sarcasm. Foiled! I stalked of to visualise the most feathers, erectest gaits, hottest blood, and fastest running dinosaurs I could from those evil mounts.

What's the point of all this you ask? Well...

My betrayal of the dinosaur renaissance. Guess what teenage John, sauropods were scaley and spikey. Sometimes they dragged their tails on the ground. And maybe they weren't always standing on their back legs to feed or fend off an Allosaurus running at a gazillion miles an hour.
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:icontraheripteryx:
Traheripteryx Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist

Would say the same as "Tomozaurus" (sorry, but... yes) But... well...

"Because animals move" is the most common argument.

But... yeah... Of course a sauropod could have layed down its tail, when resting, if it wanted to. Animals always like to do ridiculous stuff, right (You know it...)? What Does The Fox Say 

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:iconthemorlock:
TheMorlock Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2013  Student General Artist
Awesome sauropod.
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:icongdog00:
gdog00 Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2012
Sad to see a tail drag.
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:iconksdinoboy95:
ksdinoboy95 Featured By Owner May 16, 2011
"dude" yes I am a writer..cant type worth shit ,punctuation is off but thats what editors are for home-boy...
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:iconalgoroth:
Algoroth Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2012  Professional General Artist
Editors will sometimes tell a writer who can't (won't) punctuate properly to take a hike, unless you're friends with one or have pics of them in coitus with a donkey.

Why not learn some basics? Not learning basic punctuation and claiming to be a writer is like claiming to be a NASCAR racer and not knowing how to steer your car.

I remember quite well reviewing stories on another site. Some writers seemed to feel (flat out said so) that punctuation and spelling were of no importance. Frankly, that attitude is appalling. Here were good to excellent stories that I had to trudge through simply to get the meaning of what they had written. It was like eating eating good food served in a bowl made of cow dung.

Have some care for your craft. If you care so little for punctuation and spacing and such, I will not read past the first few paragraphs. If you are unable to handle those aspects, get someone to edit it for you BEFORE submission, whether here or for a serious publisher.

You certainly look like you're talented as a graphic artist; nice work!--so giving the writing aspect some work should come naturally.

And thank you for your kind words about paleoartists. I think paleoart and its creators are awesome too!
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:iconksdinoboy95:
ksdinoboy95 Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2012
that is why we have EDITORS!!!AND I AM NOT A GRAPHIC ARTIST I WRITE PALEOFICTION.THAT IS WHY SPIELBERG FIRED THE WHOLE WRITEING STAFF IS THEY WERE SO CAUGHT UP IN PICKING IT APART,THEY WERENT GETTING ANYWHERE WITH CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT.WHAT YOU HAVE READ IS CALLED AN UN-EDITED "DRAFT".SO FAR I AM STILL WRITING ON STAFF AND WE ARE LOOKING INTO A 2ND SEASON.SO I MUST BE GETTING SOMETHING RIGHT MY FRIEND.ALOHA,PEACE/OUT
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:iconalgoroth:
Algoroth Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2012  Professional General Artist
I'll make sense out of what you said some time.
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:iconksdinoboy95:
ksdinoboy95 Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2012
no need-sometimes the best thing to do is have a coke and a smile and shut the f--- up-! we live in a world where so many people got nothing better to do than pick other apart.me ;I dont have that problem,I lift others up,bolster the self esteem,and watch them go!the finest paleoartists IN THE WORLD illustrate my books for me and FOX has allready called me back for more!?! may not live up to your idea of what writers should be like but then again;who are you?all I did was give you the good word ,so why dont you just step off?I will be over here,you over there and as we say here on the Island of Kauaii,"ALOHA and mind you own culiana!
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:iconalgoroth:
Algoroth Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2012  Professional General Artist
Who are these finest paleoartists? Anyone I know? And if you can't take the critique, stay away from the heat.

And remember this--if it looks like crap, tastes like crap, smells like crap, and IS crap, it's still crap, no matter HOW many dung beetles eat it. Crap does have its place in the world; in the world of writing and art--as something to point to and say, "This is crap, this over here is good." We need examples both good and bad. Where do you fall in?
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:iconksdinoboy95:
ksdinoboy95 Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2012
you are pathetic..as far as "anyone you know" goes ;I doubt it,way out of your league and as far as if I can take the heat little boy? anything your faggity little self has;other than sitting over there taking cheap shots at others when nobody knows you and nobody cares.as far as who I am? that would be 1ST LIEUTENANT KENNEY E. SILLS/OF THE 2ND AIRBORNE RANGERS,U.S.ARMY. not that it matters...
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:iconalgoroth:
Algoroth Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2012  Professional General Artist
You definitely have problems, but that last sentence is right on the money.
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(1 Reply)
:iconksdinoboy95:
ksdinoboy95 Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2011
WELL,i AM A PALEOFICTION WRITER,SO I LOVE MY PALEOARTISTS!!! THEY GIVE US THE DREAM TO SEE AND i TRY AND GIVE THE LIFE TO IT ALL IN MY STORYLINES.SO I AM VERY PLEASED TO MEET YOU MY FRIEND---KENNEY
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:iconjconway:
jconway Featured By Owner May 16, 2011
Dude, you're a writer? Is all your writing in all caps with misused punctuation?
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:iconksdinoboy95:
ksdinoboy95 Featured By Owner May 16, 2011
sure "dude",I am a writer!cant type worth shit ,punctuation is off but thats what editors are for...when I write all in caps to the paleoartists its because I like the work and I want to kick out some respect for the awsum work I see ...!..I was a 1stLtntU.S.ARMY(173AirborneRangers-BadToltz,Germany)and as I am in my first year writeing paleofiction I was lucky enough to have some executive level friends working for a publishing firm who assure me I will do well.but its been my experience to get good people in my corner ,and the paleoartists to me is where it all starts,so you will see me get wound up when I see some killer work!!!---treating people right takes me a long way..
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:iconjconway:
jconway Featured By Owner May 17, 2011
Okay, look, sorry for the snark. But if you're going to label yourself as a writer, I think you'd be taken a lot more seriously if you took more care over your writing. Punctuation and clarity matter—they are your main tools.

Being lazy with it is like a visual artist not being able to draw. Sure, in some cases you can get away with it, but it sure as shit don't help.
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:iconksdinoboy95:
ksdinoboy95 Featured By Owner May 17, 2011
are you supposed to be somebody?I got editors and it sure isnt you.I am packing as I write this because my agent is moveing me to the islands in 2 weeks so I cant be that bad I guess..?hey I am just over here treating people GOOD because I dont forget where I come from.you one of the writers from the set?sorry you all got fired;but we are only getting 12 episodes to start with and we are happy to have it..got a better idea,;take another look at your self before you go correcting on people and make sure your shit is 100% before you go trying to put me in check~see ya
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:iconjconway:
jconway Featured By Owner May 18, 2011
Hey, whatever man, sorry for being rude.
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:iconevolutionofbirds:
evolutionofbirds Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2010
classic.
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:iconrik81:
Rik81 Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2010
Don't know if I like more the art or the text...Congrats for both!
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:icondotb18:
DOTB18 Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2009
I had a similar experience as you; when I was 13, I went on a trip to Toronto with my school. One of the things we did during the week was to see the Royal Ontario Museum. At this point, the dinosaur exhibit didn't have a lot of mounts, let alone accurate ones... they did have a very nice T. rex though. Anyway, as we walked along, the tour guide kept mixing up with what were saurishians and what were ornithischians. It drove me bonkers! So I stepped out of the crowd, and corrected her. Everyone looked at me. She then went on to say that "this what they say in the books." WHAT BOOKS HAVE YOU BEEN READING!!! After a somewhat... "heated" debate, we made a bet; if I was right, she'd eat her shorts. Her words, not mine.
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:iconravenclawxwhitewolf:
ravenclawxwhitewolf Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2008   Writer
I love the muted colors, and of course, the story that goes along with it. :)
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:iconmjbivouac:
MJBivouac Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2008
I love the MOOD in this painting. Very nice indeed. Great colors.
MJB
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:iconred-dilopho:
Red-Dilopho Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2008   Filmographer
Darn, somebody said it before me...this looks very Charles R. Knight. Amazing stuff.
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:iconbarlee:
Barlee Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2008   Filmographer
Jesus I cannot get over your talent. I love how you carefully compose and consider your drawings to give the clearest emotion. Like how this one is peaceful, and subtle. The long canvas, the muted earthy colors, and even though there's a clear focal point, nothing stands out too much to give us the sense of silence and safeness. Um sorry, some of these words.. don't even really explain what I truly mean, but I did my best. I've never come across art like yours on DA. It's a real treasure. :]
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:iconguilmon182:
guilmon182 Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2007  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank god I read that! I was about to rip your face off for making such a beautiful piece lacking the (supposed) accuracy!
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:icontomozaurus:
Tomozaurus Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2007  Student General Artist
Thats a good story grandpa. lol.
Great pic.
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:iconmattmart:
MattMart Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2007  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Retro paleo! Woot! Vive la counter-revolution! Long live Linneaus! ;)

Seriously, very cool. Chas Knight-ish with updated anatomy.
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:iconwaylonrowley:
WaylonRowley Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2007
Well, normally I would say this is a stunning piece of paleoart, but see....there's a glaring error. Diplodocus had blood hotter than a quark-gluon plasma (in fact, it had a fusion-powered metabolism). As such, it moved primarily at relativistic speeds. This sauropod should be severely length-contracted. I suppose I can suspend disbelief and add it to my faves, despite my better judgement. At least you gave it reduced dorsal stabilizer fins.
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman Featured By Owner May 26, 2007  Professional Digital Artist
I just read some of the previous comments, and ignoring the trifling issue about the tail being broken/disarticulated, you are right that the tail is not necessary to lift up the neck. Mamenchisaurs and brachiosaurs have exceptionally long necks and puny (by sauropod standards) tails, and appear no more likely to tip. The neck (which had an exceedingly low specific gravity) weighs only a small fraction of the body, and could have been lifted off the ground even if the tail were amputated (albeit perhaps with greater muscular exertion).
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:iconmonkeymen:
MonkeyMen Featured By Owner May 23, 2007   Photographer
I find your caption is at least as interesting as the painting. Both very good.
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman Featured By Owner May 22, 2007  Professional Digital Artist
First, let me concur with Squidy53 that Rhoda is a sweetheart, and I'm sure she'd love to see this homage (if you haven't already sent it). Now on to my opinion...

There's a lot good to be said of this painting; the atmosphere is fantastic (and does feel very classic late-Knightish), the animals are doing animalish things (rather than tearing around at top speed being uber-cool), and I am particularily jealous of the lush, impressionistic landscape you rendered (notice how in my artless attempts I generally leave the folliage woefully absent).

But there are some problems anatomicaly. No bunring at the satke, but I assume you mean for these to be anatomically accurate renditions, if perhaps ones that attempt to present a very counter-current visual image than most post-Dino Ren images. While admirable, there are a few problems that exceed what the evidence allows (in the event that you did not intend the image to fall within known anatomical boundaries, please ignore the following comments and bask in the artistic glory that is rightfully yours for producing such a aesthetically pleasing image):

1) The tail. This is the biggest one; while undoubtedly the tail could (and at least occasionally probably did) contact the ground, it probably could not do so at such a proximal location. The zygopophyses of the proximal tail are quite small and the condyle/cotyle articulations are very broad, which would have yielded limited mobility in the the first 15 or so caudals (with mobility gradually increasing from caudal 10 to 20). This was studied quantitatively by Myhrvold & Currie in 1997, who came to the same conclusions. The result is that even in maximum ventraflexion (which was probably not a terribly relaxing posture) you can't get the tail to contact the ground until around caudal 25 or a hair later (depending on assumptions about minimal zygopophyseal overlap), which is almost halfway down the tail. The occasionaly tail drag mark seen in trackways (and they are statistically insignificant, although they do occur) are very lightly impressed and usually show significant motion; as such they are probably better interpretted as the limp whip-lash postion of the tail dragging on the ground during locomotion.

2) The spikey things on the back: I've spoken at length with Kirby Sieber about these (he dug up the specimens in question) and the ones in your illustration easliy exceed their maximum size (by almost 100%). Also, there is no evidence that they are midline structures, and given their locations within the quarry it looks like they are better envisioned as keratinous structures along much of the dorsal surface (of course, there may have been a midline row as well). While still very reptillian in appearance, it would likely have been more reminiscent of crocs than iguanas. The midline-spike idea was largely invented by the initial reporters (Czerkas), who has previously shown favoritism to midline dermal-feature hypotheses. And other scal impressions not yet published from the same quarry show that the rest of the skin still had tiny little scales that would not have been visible from any kind of distance that would allow one to fit a whole sauropod into a scene.

Not that you could have known thew dermal stuff, so I thought I'd share post hoc. Keep up the good work!
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:iconjconway:
jconway Featured By Owner May 23, 2007
I thought I probably was pushing it with the tail -- not too worried, because I intended to sacrifice a little accuracy for effect. (Or maybe it's tail's broken!)

The dermal stuff is interesting. I don't think anything too accurate can be done in that respect until it's published (I've never seen a picture!). Though in my defence I would say that variation among species must have occurred with respect to spine/scute size. Is it still thought that duckbills had a row of midline scutes? And Ceratosaurus? Ah, dinosaurs, too much to up with.
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman Featured By Owner May 23, 2007  Professional Digital Artist
That's cool, I take no umbrage with people who sacrifice accuracy for artistic purpose...as long as they do it intentionally. And it works here, which is the important thing.

I hope the dermal stuff will be published soon, but I wouldn't hold my breath. You are certainly right about size variation amongst species, although in this case the dermal impression in fact comes from Diplodocus (although I don't know which species atm).

Ceratosaurus is still thought to have midline osteoderms, more or less like the spikey ridge that so many toy manufacturers have portrayed. Hadrosaurs do seem to have rows of non-bony scutes, and while there is a bit of variation in size and shape to them, they seem to maintain a one scute per neural spine rule, and there are no Greg Paulish frills known like he drew for Parasaurolophus (but then, there aren't dermal impression known yet Para.).

Skin impression wise, there is a lot of variation in the small details of individual scales (overall shape, micro-ornamentation, variation in size on an individual), but while several dinosaurs have larger scales for ornamentation (e.g. Carnotaurus, ceratopsians, corythosaur undersides) I have yet to see any dinosaur with "pavement scales" larger than a few mm. My sample is hardly all inclusive, but does include Carnotaurus, Allosaurus, a stegosaur, several hadrosaurs, a ceratopsian, and Psittacosaurus.

Anyways, keep up the good paleontographic work!
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman Featured By Owner May 22, 2007  Professional Digital Artist
BTW, it really is a fantastic illustration, I was just trying to provide some anatomical commentary. If you find my post too obnoxious, feel free to hide it.
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:iconbensen-daniel:
bensen-daniel Featured By Owner May 20, 2007
Okay, you've already gotten a lot of comments on this one. Your picture is hilarious and lovely all at once (I never thought I would like a dinosaur that wasn't, at least somewhere, bright red, but every day we learn something new about ourselves). I'll let everyone else's comments about the cultural climate of paleontology stand, and just say one thing:
What's with the horizontal lines? Those ridgy, bumpy things? I thought at first they were the texture of the canvas under the paint, but they look too regular. Are they an electonric addition? Anyway, I wish they weren't there. They distract from the details, and that's sad to see in such a detailed pic as this one.
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:iconjconway:
jconway Featured By Owner May 22, 2007
You know all my paintings are completely digital, right? I put canvas texture on all of them, which helps to soften the digital look -- but it can be tricky to get exactly right. I regenerate it for every resolution I export to, and sometimes (like with this one) I don't get it quite right. If I can ever be bothered to open up the monster 400mb file again I'll take another stab at it.
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:iconbensen-daniel:
bensen-daniel Featured By Owner May 22, 2007
Aha. Okay, I wondered if it might be something like that.
Well, my main problem was that the pattern is too regular and repetitive. It makes your pattern-recognition processes think something interesting is going on in the texture and distracts from the actual painting. If you want to soften the picture, I would suggest you throw some randomness into it. Find a photo online of something detailed and random, like sand on a beach, and layer that over everything. You might also play with the Clouds command in photoshop (if it's photoshop you use). Or you could just scan in a blank sheet of real canvas and layer _that_ over everything.
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:iconjconway:
jconway Featured By Owner May 23, 2007
I don't like the clouds filter, I've never been able to make it work. It has already got a blurred noise layer which added randomness. It's not so much randomness I want as a slight dither. The canvas texture is a bastard to get right at variable resolutions. Sometimes it looks natural [link] and sometimes it does it's patterning thing. As I say, I'll see if I can take another bash at it, when I can be bother to fire it up again.
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:iconbensen-daniel:
bensen-daniel Featured By Owner May 23, 2007
You're right, it does work sometimes (or at least, I didn't notice anything weird about most of these pictures when I first looked at). It's only on this one and the Doswellia picture that the pattern looks weird. I think that's more a function of the picture underneath. Not many colors that stand out and lots of details makes the canvas pattern stand out...is the theory.
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:iconolofmoleman:
olofmoleman Featured By Owner May 19, 2007  Student Digital Artist
It's nice, but the tail looks all wrong, if it's being dragged like that on the ground it wouldn't be able to hold it's neck upright.
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:iconjconway:
jconway Featured By Owner May 22, 2007
I don't believe that for a second. Sauropods had plenty of mechanisms to hold their necks up that were independent of the tail. Besides, I don't think they did this often, I was making a point.
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:iconolofmoleman:
olofmoleman Featured By Owner May 24, 2007  Student Digital Artist
They would fall over without a counter weight for the neck, the dragging tail theory is outdated.
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:iconjconway:
jconway Featured By Owner May 24, 2007
I don't think they dragged their tails often, but occasionally, maybe. I don't actually believe they would fall over forward if part of their tail was on the ground: their centre of gravity is somewhere near the hips, and to actually fall over forward they would have to press their tails hard enough on the ground to shift it forward of their manus. Or, you could be basing what you say on research I don't know about, and then I'd be an arse.

Beside all that -- did you read the description?
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:iconsphenacodon:
Sphenacodon Featured By Owner May 15, 2007
Holy shades of Knight!
Great picture, as always. Very relaxing atmosphere too.
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:iconsquidy53:
Squidy53 Featured By Owner May 14, 2007
Nice homage John. May I suggest you share this with Rhoda Steel Kalt ( 2007@charlesrknight.com) the granddaughter of Charles Knight and a very gracious lady. She takes great interest in all things Knightian which she shares with others at [link]
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:iconjconway:
jconway Featured By Owner May 22, 2007
Thanks for the link, I might just do that.
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:iconfiskus:
Fiskus Featured By Owner May 14, 2007
very interesting animal,, I guess :)

:+fav:
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:iconnemo-ramjet:
nemo-ramjet Featured By Owner May 14, 2007
"...I don't remember much of my years at the Morrison, you see. Every night we'd drop into insane palaeo-joints, packed with the wildest crowd imaginable. There was no question about it really, in any corner you could find discussion groups dealing the hardest shit- fur, feathers, gaping mouths, that kind of stuff. You would meet hot groupies and have them lump ornithischians into sauropods WITHOUT EVEN KNOWING THEIR NAMES! One guy I knew was way hardcore, he'd deck out frikkin' ULTRASAURS with feathers and have them run at the speed of sound. Poor chap that one, later got burned out and started drawing dragons. But I think we were all a bit dragons back then..."

-Anonymous, from "Limestone Underground: My Life in the Punk Rock World of Palaeontology"
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:iconjconway:
jconway Featured By Owner May 14, 2007
Oh god, that's so close to reality. I did know a guy who drew feathers brachiosaurs (with manes no less) galloping across the Jurassic savannah. Burned himself out real young and started drawing Star Wars.
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:icondustdevil:
dustdevil Featured By Owner May 14, 2007  Professional General Artist
And sometimes they didn't ate anything but just spent time doing nothing as good stupid lumbering brainless animals... Lovely pic John, comme d'habitude, very "Knightesque".
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