Thursday, 26 June 2014

Retro-Jurassic Park : Vision of Dinosaurs of The Past

This weekend, my two companions at Heritage Park, Jeff and Dan, found an odd book on dinosaurs for sale. It was in the general store, and despite the fact that the park is about the old Canadian West post 1870s, the dino book was there. They started to jump around their flights of fancy, as both are artist, and asked, "How cool would it be to have the film Jurassic Park re-made with the vision of what the dinosaurs looked like in the past? Retro-Dinos!"

I'm no film maker, but as a historian, I can dig up (he-he pun) some bones to show you.

Just laying around catching rays.
Let's start with one of the first public displays of dinosaurs ever done. The Crystal Palace Dinosaurs were a series of sculptures of extinct animals and dinos in the Crystal Palace Park in London. Built in 1852-54, these are the first dinosaur sculptures in the world. They still exist and can be seen in a part in Bromley. No, these guys are not up to date, but they would have looked cool on screen. Here's a cool short film on them from 1922.

Because it's always cool to scare the crap out of your kid.
Maybe on would be Gertie the Dinosaur - It was made in 1914 by Winsor Makay and is the first time a dinosaur appears in film.


Very adorable, she dances and is very sweet. Completely unlike the fellow below:

Whales with teeth: try and kill this Japanese Whalers!

The painting above is of a Basilosaurus (Zeuglodon) “Whales of the Eocene Seas” by Charles R. Knight (1874-1953). He is famous for his ground-breaking depictions of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals, and wildlife in general. Millions of people are exposed annually to this artist's works in major institutions around the world including the American Museum of Natural History, the Field Museum of Natural History, and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. Knight is one of the reasons we see dinosaurs as we do.

The next one is very pretty from the late 1800s, where the timeline was pretty vague still on when human and dinosaurs lived. I like this one because the humans are very Greece-roman. The dino fighting for his life is a Plesiosaurus. It was mistakenly believed, and still is, by many that it is a dinosaur but it actually was a marine lizard. It also is a general classification for many of these lizards.
I'll get you, you cloth wearing fleshy things!
We've got some land ones, some in the water, so let's get one for the air. This weird looking thing is a Ramphorynchus, not a partially de-boned chicken. In 1869, french science writer Victor Meunier wrote an overview of extinct animals called L'Animaux d'Autrefois (Animals of the Past). Three years later, William Henry Davenport Adams published a translation of Meunier's text, expanded and revised for his English audience, called Life in the Primeval World. Adams writes that he believes it to be the first paleontology book published in English for a lay audience.The illustration below is from that book.

Turkey or reptile, your guess is as good as mine, but he's at least smiling.
Well, if anyone knows if there's going to be a Jurassic 10, let me know and I can send them this list.

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