STL Science Center

STL Science Center

25 February 2012

Sadly Bland Afrovenator

©Mariana Ruiz Villareal
I like a good typical theropod running at me with a snarling face as much as the next dinosaur junkie, but let's face it here and now together boys and girls: we like a little variety in our illustrations as well. The Ruiz Villareal illustration alongside this paragraph is a very good example of a typical pose in which we find theropods like Afrovenator. The illustration is good and the pose is taken from one of the assembled and displayed castings on the Project Exploration website, but that is probably more the issue than artists drawing theropods in a threatening forward lumbering pose like this. The scientists keep putting them in poses like this! Many skeletons of theropods are posed in this manner and we there fore see many illustrations posed in this way. I think it is a very good illustration, but I also believe it is quite overused in both the artistic and the scientific community alike. We need some creativity.

Artist Unkown
We need more swimming Afrovenators. I really cannot complain about the unique quality of this illustration. How often do we see a theropod swimming? I think not often enough honestly. Surely a dinosaur could swim, maybe they were not the best swimmers the word has seen but, for all the allusions to dogs swimming in our world, neither are most puppies. I do very much enjoy the look of concentration in this Afrovenator's face. I am not sure, though, if there is an attempt to show webbing between the toes of the dinosaur in this illustration, if so that is a very odd jump to make I feel, though everyone is allowed the powers of speculation and imagination!

I also wanted to share this awesome piece by Mark Hallett, but I can't save the image so I won't even bother asking him, I'll just post a link to it. It's one of those really fun to look at and imagine predator-prey images; click on it, you'll enjoy it I swear. Regardless of that sadness, this last illustration is by no means a fourth place "I guess you get in" illustration. Classic posing of the jaws and of the general body stance, but it has flair. There is some personality in this dinosaur, a little pizzazz, jazz, something that makes me want to have a coffee with this dinosaur. I think it may be the great big smile quality to its open mouth. There are teeth in there, but the facial expression seems to make the Afrovenator appeal much more to the "Hey, you are one happy dude! Let's go to Starbucks and stare at the yuppies." rather than "OH NO PLEASE DON'T EAT ME!" sentiment in me. He's a happy little dinosaur. I want to make him a dinosaur house in my backyard and feed him sheep.

I know I generally keep the writings here pretty serious, but I just couldn't do it looking at that dinosaur's face, I tried, I swear!

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