02 July 2011
The Crystal Palace and Iguanodon
Now, onto some older sculptures. Commissioned and created in the years from 1852 to 1854, the Crystal Palace sculptures were created by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins with scientific advice from Richard Owen. Here is the original Iguanodon reconstruction, well preserved to this day, in the Crystal Palace in London, England. As one can see, Iguanodon was certainly thought to resemble a modern day Iguana and the thumb spike, if we look closely, has been relocated to the top of the nose of the animal. This sculpture gives Iguanodon a very reptilian and predatory stance and look to it, which we know to be false. The resting position here is much more of a sunning position which goes hand in hand with its reptilian look. These are the famous versions in which a grand banquet was held with the dinner party seated inside the sculpture of the rather silly looking and anatomically incorrect version. How the entire dinner party was seated inside the sculpture I am not entirely sure, but the famous lithograph of the event still exists today and is one of the most famous images in the entirety of paleontology as a science despite its representation of a complete gaff and misinterpretation by the scientific community.
The final image is one that has not been presented in any way at this point. Unfortunately I have found no artist but the artist's vision of herding behavior is what has really drawn me to use this piece today. Juveniles and adults walk together as a family unit in this illustration while the wildlife around them interacts accordingly; meaning that the herd is given its path through the world without much hindrance from the other animals. A predator in the background, for instance, is not even paying much attention to the herd, though it is clear from the rearmost adult that the family unit is paying attention to the predators and other animals around them. Again we also have some striping on the animals in both adult and sub-adult versions and, looking at the youngster, we can see the artist believes even sub-adults had the exact same coloration pattern as the adults.