Ludwigsburg is a hop, skip and a jump away from Stuttgart, and when I was there I got bitten bit the palaeo-bug. I met Rainer Schoch, but despite his passion, he wasn’t the one to get me going. Rather, the passionate collectors Richard Leheis, Hubert Dona and others. Next to fantastic plants and archosaurs, one of the cooler finds in the area is Gerrothorax. A very cool new paper has gotten me all nostalgic, and nostalgia is best shared. Let me know what you think, keeping in mind that this image is from … 2009.
Science-art interface, anybody? Really cool tracking and visualization platform for dance, which is but a skip, hop and pirouette away from expressive biomechanics. I can imagine the visualization options presented in this toolkit to be of use in scientific analysis. Click to go.
At last year’s FMX, I had the honor of interviewing Stuart Sumida, paleontologist consultant to the animation and vfx world, anatomy professor and all-around extraordinary science outreach. I know I should also mention lover of Dimetrodons and dinosaurs , and fantastic person, but you’ve got to draw the line somewhere.
The interviews are available at AWN, though for some reason I can’t view them at the moment. Please post in the comments if you can’t see them.
Follow the flyfisher for an interesting testimony by Dayna Gross for the use of illustration as a tool for both internal and external communication, and therefore a classic management tool.
Popular books featuring palaeobotany are few and far between. I have a cherished copy of Douglas Henderson’s Dinosaur Tree – a wonderful portrait of the life of a tree, with dinosaurs reduced to passersby. (Want to make a documentary, anyone?) So I was pleasantly surprised to encounter Fabio Manucci’s review of this and another book on paleobotany called The Islands of Time. Enough introduction! head over and read the review (googlated into English).
Amidst all the talk about open communication in scientific publishing, it’s refreshing to see a production blog following a scientific documentary. Highlights include water simulation tests and Hannah Foss’ account of the tropical copepod that snuck its way into the teams modeling workflow.
It’s relatively easy to visualize the blue-marble earth nowadays, out precious home planet cast against the vast emptiness of space. The very first attempts to do so – from artists with absolutely no extraplanetary experience - reminds us that it’s not something to be taken for granted. Click the attempt below for a great article about these early attempts. It’s a very profound topic, considering that the actual effect of seeing the earth as an object removed from us, has (hopefully) changed the way we see ourselves.
John Hutchinson tweeted a link to his new paper. Wow. Fantastically illustrated, intensively interesting. Written so precisely and clearly that I even imagine I understand what it’s about. Must read science!
$306 close, namely… that’s 300 people with 10 bucks and change.
So close, that it’s GOT to get to the finish line – but there’s only 10 days left. And this is coming from someone who has a vested interest in having his t-shirt remain a rarity. This is coming from someone absolutely strapped for cash and still willing to match at least one person’s 10 bucks. Any takers?
All Yesterdays is gaining momentum. As I’ve written in my review, I think this is a great thing and highly recommend the book, in whatever form you choose to buy it. I love the independent Geist in publishing. Kudos to the whole team. I love the science/art tag team to present a truly rounded argument for more speculative life and behavioral reconstructions. I also think the call is much-needed and spot on. As a book.
As a book it is a landmark argument to reassess our presumptions about soft tissues, biomechanics and behavior. It calls into view how much we don’t know about dinosaurs and – in relation to these unknowns – how plausible speculation can be. How important. As a book, I find All Yesterdays timely, important and well done.
As a movement, All Yesterdays is problematic.
A semantic issue is that the character of a movement implies that this something new rather than a corrective effect of the existing processes. A look at the artists who’ve managed to establish themselves shows that this isn’t the case. Good, speculative work comes from good artists involved in a scientific discussion in some form. Most have direct and involved exchanges with the scientists themselves. As in the book, this is a key factor.
The major issue is the question of where speculation stops and sensationalism begins. This is partly an issue of audience. I may take issue with something like spelunking sauropods, but it’s a quality image done with scientific consultation. I personally climb out of my mental participation, but it thematicizes the gargantuan mineral demands that a Diamantinasaurus would have had, and offers plenty of solid artistic skills. Successful,if only for the discussion. What I see as problematic however is the reference to Yesterdays as a sort of movement, as that shifts the focus dangerously close to speculation for speculation’s sake, which is right next door to the sensationalism practiced – among others – by television ‘documentaries’ out to make a good cut among the viewing public. The same sensationalism rightly abhorred by the palaeoart community. I know media producers who defend such formats as audience-oriented science with a healthy portion of speculation. Go figure.
So… here’s my take on the yesterdays phenomena. Yo.
It starts off with…
I’m considering an alternative ending in which the Therizinosaur claws its way out of the huge sauropod’s gut… which would explain those claws. Know waht I’m sayin’?
Ars has a great article about story-telling, or rather… an intriguing article that makes me wish I’d been there to here the real beef in person. Not only Fiona Romeo sounds toally inspired, but Michael Please, maker of the Eagleman Stag.
heteromeles has an interesting take on the long neck morphology of Elasmosaurus. I think it’s a cool example of speculative sketching and note that the figures are sketched out (not so sure how I’d react to carefully worked out, detailed illustrations of the idea). I like the way he proposes the idea, lays out argumentation and clearly states what stage of knowledge lies behind each of the arguments. A good read.
Illu art has a great write up of John Cuneo‘s wonderful and biting editorial work, highlighting the above depiction of a rhinoceros poacher. I feel there’s a great need for artists to step up to the bat when it comes to transporting understanding of our role in nature and an outrage about abuses – be it stolen fossils, overfished oceans, finning or any of the unfortunately much too long list of greed-based abuses of a sustainable use of natural resources. In light of the tragicomically perverse reason – the myth of sexually potency – behind the market for rhinoceros horn, this illustration is, if anything, too meek.
For those of you in Berlin (I assume this will be in German)
Prof. Dr. M. Schudack (FU Berlin, Inst. für geolog. Wissenschaften, Paläontologie)
Paläoökologische und paläoklimatische Untersuchungen in der Morrison-
Formation (Oberjura der USA) mit Hilfe von Ostracoden und Charophyten.
19.00 Uhr, Treffpunkt Portal 5 am Naturkundemuseum
I really like the idea of deigning visuals that transport information peripherally, and so its not surprising that I think Liam Nevell is onto something really cool here. The likelihood of a phylogenetic position is reflected by the color value surrounding each branch. Very cool.