STL Science Center

STL Science Center

04 November 2016

Typical Illustrations

The illustrations of hadrosaurs have changed as much and as often as any other subset of dinosaurs over the years since their initial discoveries. Hadrosaurs, however, have arguably changed less than other dinosaurs. The reason for that is not a lack of hadrosaur research or knowledge but rather the general shape of hadrosaurs. Postural changes of the dinosaurs and enhanced precision of soft tissue depictions of the head and neck are the most profound advances in hadrosaur illustration. Beyond these categories, the bodies of hadrosaurs in particular, the depiction of hadrosaurs has remained fairly uniform because there was not a whole lot to change in those areas to begin with. Parasaurolophus and its contemporaries were depicted with bovine bodies because they were basically the cows of the Cretaceous. This explains the bovine appearance of hadrosaurs between the neck and tail quite readily. One other thing that changed in illustrations of Parasaurolophus and other dinosaurs overall that has made a significant impact on the illustrations we see today is the organization of the toes and posture of the feet. Older illustrations feature elphantine feet that end in columns for sauropods and hadrosaurs are not treated much differently in this respect. Some depictions of Parasaurolophus are a little extreme in their depiction of the bovine state of the dinosaurs, such as this image by John Conway (though he is far from the only artist depicting these dinosaurs in this manner).
Parasaurolophus with hypothetical frill attached ©Tom Parker

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