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Tragedy of the Archbishop by Paleo-King Tragedy of the Archbishop by Paleo-King
NOW FEATURED on SV-POW! [link]

150 million years ago in Tanzania, a subadult 'Archbishop' brachiosaur struggles to stay afloat after getting stuck in a deceptively lake-like bog. Surrounded by vicious predators and drowning plant-eaters of all shapes, sizes and ages, the desperation of his situation becomes clear to one and all - and yet driven by the tempting aroma of so many tons of fresh meat, hungry hunters keep coming to the death trap. A veritable mud pie of nearly all the Tendaguru fauna, sinking ever deeper, screaming and gasping to escape their inevitable looming doom. Only the vicious crocodiles below, and tiny pterosaurs above which once relied on the giant for shelter and protection are free to scavenge here and escape unharmed, and even they have to watch it.

Suggested background music: [link]

NOTES: The 'Archbishop' is a large brachiosaur that shared the Tengaduru habitat with "Brachiosaurus" (Giraffatitan) brancai, and for many years was mistaken for the same animal. It has since been shown to be a different and even longer-necked genus, but has yet to be formally described and given a name.

To my knowledge, this is the first ever 'life restoration' of the Archbishop, and only the second time it's ever been illustrated (the first was also by me: [link]).

The type (and only) specimen is currently under study by Dr. Michael P. Taylor [link] of SV-POW [link] in the British Museum of Natural History. It was excavated by Frederick Migeod (who hastily mistook it for B. brancai) in 1930, at which point Tanzania was in British control, having switched hands after WWI. A number of Migeod's original bones have supposedly been lost, and many are as yet unprepared, but there's still enough material to do a good reconstruction.

For a nice powerpoint on the Archbishop, go to Dr. Taylor's website here: [link] and click on the link labeled "slides".
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:iconevodolka:
Evodolka Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2017  Hobbyist Artist
beautiful yet tragic
the picture really shows the fear felt in that situation
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:iconsir-giga:
Sir-Giga Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Whats the name of that "thin" theropod on the back of the saroupod, if i may ask?
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2016  Professional Traditional Artist
That one is Elaphrosaurus bambergi. At least that's one interpretation of what it looked like.
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:iconbricksmashtv:
bricksmashtv Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Will you be doing a skeletal of this guy anytime soon?
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2016  Professional Traditional Artist
Only when Dr. Taylor has the paper ready to publish. I have some data in the works but until he's ready to either publish my skeletal in his paper, or publish the paper without it, I am not going to borrow from his research. That's the common practice when you have a description paper in progress.
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:iconbricksmashtv:
bricksmashtv Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Ah I see. Good to know. Maybe it'll come out this year finally.
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:iconriver-rex:
River-rex Featured By Owner May 3, 2014  Student Artist
Looks epic!
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:icondontknowwhattodraw94:
Dontknowwhattodraw94 Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
There's so much movement in this drawing, you can stay looking to this and still find dinosaurs between all the chaos.
Really awesome artwork :)
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:icongrroselli:
grroselli Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
this has got to be THE best paleoart sketch i have ever seen. this is truly spectacular. you have serious talent
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:iconrandomdinos:
randomdinos Featured By Owner May 17, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Is the bog THAT deep, to drown an Arcbishop, or is it just supposed to die from exhaustion? With a neck that big, I doubt it could drown in such places..
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner May 20, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Bogs could be pretty deep if they were formed from sinkholes (which can actually collapse further inward a second time if the underlying stone is porous enough). However death from exhaustion or starvation would be more likely. Some bogs can be 40-50ft. deep or more (enough to drown a large brachiosaur) but plenty are shallower than that.
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:iconthediremoose:
thediremoose Featured By Owner May 19, 2013
The studies that debunked the amphibious sauropod hypothesis concluded that at sufficient depths, the water pressure would prevent a sauropod from expanding its chest to breathe. Presumably that would also kill the Archbishop here.
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:iconkaiserlisk:
kaiserlisk Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2013
Funnily enough, I always saw most brachiosaurs as basically invincible. Their immense size and stature evoked a regal and majestic feeling, as if it were impossible to harm such magnificent creatures. Of course, being older I realize this is an unrealistic thought. But even now, looking at the Archbishop sink into the muck and mire is quite heartbreaking and fittingly tragic.

Sorry for getting all poignant, but this really is a spectacular piece. What mediums do you use?
Reply
:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Pencil for the most part. I too thought of brachiosaurs the same way. And it's true... to a point. Most brachiosaur species were too big for predators to attack, and vital organs like the heart and lungs were very high off the ground. Also the long arms meant greater reach to crush or punch attackers, and brachiosaurs were considerably heavier than diplodocids or basal sauropods of similar length. And their hips were beginning to flare out sideways more than other sauropods, allowing bigger thigh muscles and more dangerous lateral kicks to waste any theropod that got too close (a feature that got taken to even greater extremes in euhelopodids and titanosaurs).

Of course a drowning brachiosaur that's stuck in a bog will make a much easier target. But you can't take a bite without getting stuck yourself. If he's going down, he's taking you with him.
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:iconacepredator:
acepredator Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2015
Can't a theropod jump onto the side, bite, then jump off onto land?
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:iconsaucylobster:
SaucyLobster Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2012
A very tragic scene for all involved but captivating none the less.
Reply
:iconmaxterandkiwiking:
MaxterandKiwiKing Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I mean [link]
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Too slow and march-like IMO. I like it, but that soundtrack doesn't fit with the speed and movement of this scene all that well.
Reply
:iconmaxterandkiwiking:
MaxterandKiwiKing Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Awwwww. :(
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:iconmaxterandkiwiking:
MaxterandKiwiKing Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Here is my suggested background music: [link]
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:icongrroselli:
grroselli Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
if elaphrosaurus looked that awesome in real life, he would be my second favorite dinosaur of all time! dilophosaurus is still cooler though. it really sucks that just about every therapod from the tendaguru is either fragmentary or unknown
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:icongrroselli:
grroselli Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
i hope u don't mind me asking but what dinosaur species are in this? i know next to nothing about the tedugara, the morrison is what i'm familiar with
Reply
:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
The Archbishop is a newly identified species of brachiosaur that has yet to be officially described and named. For a long time it was assumed to be an individual of Giraffatitan, but now it's become clear this was a different animal, with different proportions despite its similar size.

You also see Ceratosaurus, Elaphrosaurus, Kentrosaurus, Dryosaurus, "Allosaurus" tendaguriensis, a speculative megalosaur, and a baby Tornieria (similar to Barosaurus).
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:iconsaberrex:
Saberrex Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
whoa. never heard of him.
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Yeah, the only place this creature ever seems to get mentioned is SV-POW. It's downright odd even by brachiosaur standards (and some of its features actually look a bit different from what you see here). Huge oversized shoulder blade, a neck both longer and deeper than Giraffatitan's, a torso that's very short but with crazy-tall neural spines, and a tail that's tiny enough to make a Giraffatitan tail look big. Basically it's a huge walking neck.
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:iconacepredator:
acepredator Featured By Owner May 10, 2015
WTF
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:iconsaberrex:
Saberrex Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
now that's weird, even by dinosaur standards. how would it defend itself with a tail that small? kicking perhaps? it practically made itself into a walking eating machine that was easy prey for things like Veterupristisaurus and Allosaurus.
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Kicking is a very likely defense for this guy, the ilia (based on the quarry map) were very flared out (not long but wide) and anchored huge thigh muscles. Brachiosaurs and other titanosauriforms all had large pre-acetabular shelf (the big front part of the ilium) which flared out and was a huge muscle attachment surface, most of them could kick forward and sideways. One animal that appears similar to the Archbishop is the Potter Creek brachiosaur found by Jensen in the 1980s. This individual (which includes an ilium, humerus, rib, rear dorsal, and a metacarpal) has long been assigned to Brachiosaurus, but upon closer inspection it is clearly NOT Brachiosaurus. It's a taller, slimmer animal with much more flared hips than Brachiosaurus, and overall proportions VERY similar to the Archbishop. I call them "angelfish brachiosaurs" because their rib cages are so deep and slim compared to other brachiosaurs.

The humerus on the Potter Creek taxon is larger than that of Brachiosaurus, so even if these odd brachiosaurs weren't as heavy as their more "classic" cousins, they had more of their mass upfront to duke it out with, as well as better sideways kicking range down back.
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:iconsaberrex:
Saberrex Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
wow. i guess there were a lot of brachiosaurs we did not know about. this is more amazing than any sauropod discovery i have yet seen so far.
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Yeah, and there are others... according to Greg Paul there are some reports of Giraffatitan-like brachiosaurs in North America, and the Felch Quarry skull may be from a genus other than B. altithorax since it's a bit older. There is apparently a brachiosaur species from Mexico that survived all the way to the Campanian epoch :o ! And a whole host of stuff from England, from Pelorosaurus conybeari, to Ischyrosaurus, to Eucamerotus foxi, to "Angloposeidon" (the MIWG neck vertebra) to the Barnes High Brachiosaur (which is in private hands for now). There also is a new brachiosaur being prepared in Spain, as well as an old undescribed forelimb from Portugal that it NOT Lusotitan, as well as evidence of brachiosaurs in Lebanon (just teeth for now, but hey that's a start). Then we have the LACM Humerus, which is most likely a new genus, as well as the BHI femur (again probably a new genus), lets not forget the Fire Ridge material either. And lets not forget the new sauroposeidon material (which I do not agree with placing it in somphospondyli, still looks like a cretaceous brachiosaur to me).
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:iconsaberrex:
Saberrex Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow, who knew brachiosaurs were THAT diverse. i did not however, hear about new sauroposeidon material.
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
There is a new paper. That claims it was not a brachiosaur but a somphospondyl. I don't agree, and it doesn't even include a cladistic analysis, but it does contain some VERY nice photos of new material from a juvenile Sauroposeidon specimen.
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(1 Reply)
:iconmesozoic0906:
Mesozoic0906 Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2012
It looks like a statue, a nice one.
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:iconvasix:
vasix Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
That Ceratosaurus with its jaws on the brachiosaur's flanks, seems to be rather big....
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
There is a very large species of Ceratosaurus known from the Tendaguru beds in Tanzania, known as C. ingens. However, as this particular Archbishop isn't fully grown, the Ceratosaurus in the picture isn't that big.
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:iconvasix:
vasix Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Gotta look up C. ingens....
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Greg Paul wrote about it in Predatory Dinosaurs of the World (1988). I don't think there's been any new research on it since then. It's supposedly big enough to rival Epanterias or Torvosaurus.

Some of the sauropods of Tendaguru were also bigger than commonly thought (Giraffatitan adults like HMN XV2, larger specimens of Janenschia, large Archbishops, and possibly other species). HMN XV2 and Janenschia could approach 90 ft. long and 50 tons. The only known specimen of the Archbishop seems similar in length, but probably less massive because more of its length is neck.
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:iconjwartwork:
JWArtwork Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
How large was C. ingens? :?
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Don't know. It probably rivaled Torvosaurus and the larger allosaurs (so somewhere around 37ft. long perhaps?) I can't really comment on the size of C. ingens since I've never seen the type material or a scale photo of it. All I know for sure is that it was the biggest ceratosaur, a good bit larger than C. nasicornis, but the fossils may be relatively fragmentary so far.
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:iconalgoroth:
Algoroth Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2011  Professional General Artist
Here's something I did more than a decade back [link]

You'll see why I posted this here. Just for your viewing pleasure and to give you an idea why I like your Archbishop piece so much.

The Argentinosaurus pic is coming along fine and you should be seeing it soon.

I also did a sketch some years back using titanosaurs and allosaurs, which is anachronistic, I know, but, being a bad guy, I did it anyway. The sizes, I thought, were exaggerated, but it seems I very accidently portended Puertasaurus before it was discovered. I just thought I might finish it (it's an extremely complex and detailed piece)and submit it here. Just one thing: do you know of any Allosaurus fragilis sized predators that are from the time of Puertasaurus or Argentinosaurus that were allosaurid? It might be interesting to do carnotaurs, which would be the right size. I pictured the predators attacking a nesting area. :omfg:
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
I'm sure there were some neovenatorids (advanced allosauroids) in Cretaceous Argentina that were Allosaurus-sized. There were giant ones like Magaraptor and Orkoraptor, so medium-sized ones probably existed too. Carnosaurus was actually a good bit smaller...
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:iconalgoroth:
Algoroth Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2011  Professional General Artist
Thanks!
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
oops my bad, I meant Megaraptor and Carnotaurus :XD:
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:iconalgoroth:
Algoroth Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2011  Professional General Artist
What's wrong with Maggy Raptor? :)
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:iconalgoroth:
Algoroth Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2011  Professional General Artist
Beautiful pic. Looks a lot like some sketches I made years ago, though not like it's copied. This is the first I've heard of the Archbishop. Getting mobbed by angry Protestants, is he?

As for the neck. Some critics have implied we should see evidence of the bones, such as kinks, because, in some positions, they show up in giraffes. Brachiosaurs, if I remember correctly, have more neck vertebrae than giraffes. Also, look at examples of living birds with long necks. Kinks are not readily apparent, so why should this animal portrait show them?

Even seeing them in giraffes and camels is rare, to judge by the living animals I've seen, and the photos as well.

I've seen some representations of sauropods with neck bones showing so drastically, the skin was sunken lower than the ends of the bones, like you'd see in horse shins and bird elbows. To do the artist credit, she painted it that way at the request of the paleontologist who hired her. Who? Ain't telling you, do the research. :jarksaber:

The idea of showing prominent neck bones in living animal restorations is bogus, far as I'm concerned. Do these people ever LOOK at living animals before they make their majestic pronouncements? I am positive at least some people have eaten chicken necks. Even then, with skinned necks, the bones are not that prominent BBE--Before Being EATEN! :omfg:

One more thing!

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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Sounds like you're talking about Ely Kish. True, her Apatosaurus was pretty awful, it's strange that Dale Russell would ask for such inaccurate work (not to mention the pelvic "stingers", dragging tails, and overall carton-like appearance in many of her other collaborative paintings under Russell).

I don't like kinked necks either, if the necks were to have enough muscle to be functional they would not have any visible dorsal kinks or protruding bones. It's a common mistake, much like necks that are too fat or incorrect hands and digits... David Peters painted Brachiosaurus looking very thin with a kinked neck profile in "A Gallery of Dinosaurs and Other Early Reptiles". There's thin, and then there's TOO thin. If your Brachiosaurus looks 10 tons lighter than your Seismosaurus, something is very wrong Mr. Peters...
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:iconalgoroth:
Algoroth Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2011  Professional General Artist
I'm sure she was an estimable artist, but Dale had some strange ideas. In all the pics I've ever seen of giraffes, only one shows kinks--it was posted on Sauropod back bones, picture of the fifty second part of an Earth year, if I remember correctly--and it was in a crazy position. I'm sure you've seen it. In no long-necked animal I've ever seen in anything close to the position of your Archbishop have I ever seen prominent kinks.

If the neck was being held straight out, we might see something. Got a pic of an outback camel doing that, but what we see seems to be the muscles holding its neck in that uncomfortable position.

I think a lot of modern day paleo artists and paleontologists are deathly afraid nobody will believe sauropods could exist unless they were at an absolute minimum amount of weight. Balderdash! A giant sauropod is going to have a heavy skeleton, in spite of air pockets. Having an absolute minimum amount of muscle and connective tissue is not going to help the poor animal; quite the opposite. And the bones often seem to lie. Take a look at a hippo skeleton and a croc skeleton and tell me you'd predict what their fully fleshed legs would look like if you'd never
seen a living example.

And even with living examples of close relatives, GSP wants to restore graviportal animals as being thin in the upper limb elements. There is a page of his skeletals featuring dinos and other animals. Take a look at his mammoth.

Paul was what I would call a daring, prophetic genius in some ways: he drew and painted feathered dinosaurs before the major discoveries. That took a lot of nerve and confidence. In some ways, however, his restorations entirely follow his preferences, whether there ever was evidence for them or not. His often skewed perspectives, his emaciated sauropod and ceratopsian legs, his emaciated duckbill dinosaur arms are cases that have often irked me. His habit of restoring predatory dinosaurs with thin, doggy-style throats does not bother me as much, although I disagree with it. Why? Although large extant predatory reptiles have thick throats...look at crocs, gators, gharials, caimans, and goannas...there is no pressing reason I can think of whereby predatory dinosaurs had to have bulging throats. So, I never object when I see them on any restorations. Emaciated legs ignore several items of locomotion, skin, possible fat reserves and facts about vertebrate muscle structure which I've already gone over. :chew:
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Well those are all very good points. Keep in mind though that some dinosaurs are drawn "lean" without marge fat reserves as they would look toward the end of the dry season - the reason for this is that we just don't know how much fat they tended to amass on average in the wet season, or how much they would even need, as we don't know the average environmental resource dynamics of extinct habitats. This goes for Greg Paul, myself, and pretty much all the other scientific artists out there. There are some places on a dinosaur where fat simply would not gather - like the lower legs of theropods or other running species, where it would needlessly hamper their running speed. However I do understand your point about some dinosaurs looking too emaciated. But I also don't want to over-muscle them, especially when there's no proof of heavy muscle attachments in some areas. I saw Greg Paul's mammoth, he restored it without hair so that it could be compared with naked-skinned animals. It's either a hairless columbian mammoth or a slightly shaggy steppe mammoth. Greg Paul's dinosaurs are at the very lower limits of their year-round mass range, hence the reason they look thin. He's never suggested that this is what they looked like all the time, just toward the end of the dry season. Wet season dinosaurs would be probably 10-15% heavier, which is overall not all that much fatter when you crunch the figures.

However I highly disagree with downright anorexic dinosaurs like those of Russell and Kish. Russell estimated that Giraffatitan weighed only 15 tons! Kish's dinosaurs - not just Apatosaurus but also Massospondylus, Saurolophus, Daspletosaurus, and especially Tenontosaurus, are just awful, flaccid walking corpses dragging their tails onto death's doorstep. And they ALL have those annoying pelvic stingers. I did reach the conclusion that my Argentinosaurus and Andesaurus were a bit too slim in the limbs, so I bulked them up a bit. But at the same time, I still want to have the scientific schematics in default form as lean "dry season" dinosaurs for the above mentioned reasons.
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:iconalgoroth:
Algoroth Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2011  Professional General Artist
Some paleontologists were very good to excellent artists in their own right. I think Gilmore was one, Bakker is certainly another. However, one has to wonder where their minds were in some instances. David? Norman wrote several popular books on dinosaurs featuring the work of John Sibbick. Although I like Sibbick's work in Wellnhoffer's? Pterodactyl book, the work he did for Norman varied. The Dinosaur Encyclopedia was okay, but there was another one which was the pits. I don't remember the name. Bill Watterson did far better dinos for Calvin and Hobbes. Then, if I remember correctly, he authored another book with another artist, whom he praised to the skies above. Horrible, dull, boring, very inaccurate art. I can excuse inaccurate when it's done before new findings, as with Knight, or it's done in a fantasy style, as in Krenkel's, Frazetta's, and a lot of Bill Stout's comic book work. Their work, though not up to scientific standards, is very interesting and fascinating to me.

The guy's work in the book in question was insipid, boring, and just flat out wrong. Why even have hired the guy? You, Zach, me, and half a dozen or more artists in DA could have done better in our sleep.

So! It makes me wonder, sometimes, how useful is it to have a paleontologist looking over your shoulder when even Barney is acceptable to him/her? My main problem with Ely's work is how moronic she made her dinos look. There are no thoughts at all going on behind their faces and some of the poses are flat out wrong; look at her Triceratops with the lizard front legs. She seemed to be a fine artist, certainly talented, very highly so. And, from Russell's writing, I know she was following some of his theories, as in the mummified Apatosaurus neck. But I've often wondered whose Muse she was following: her own or Russell's?
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:iconalgoroth:
Algoroth Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2011  Professional General Artist
You do what you need to do for your work and don't worry about me. I'm just giving my thoughts is all. When I draw/paint dinosaurs, I do what I want, as I see fit. You do fine work!
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