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Dinosaurs of a feather
February 20, 2012 9:16 AM   Subscribe

It seemed an unsolvable mystery, but recently we have learned what color some dinosaurs were. Of course, dinosaur art has been around since the 1850s, but, as a paleontologist entertainingly explains, most depictions contained many errors. Prior to the Dinosaur Renaissance of the 1960s, dinosaurs were famously depicted as slow reptiles. While this vision persists in horrible roadside statues, dinosaur art has evolved rapidly to cover the new understanding of feathered dinosaurs. You can see the best scientific art among the winners of the Landzerdorf Prize, or you can see how this revolution in dinosaur illustration has played out in comics. And of course you can (really!) see some dinosaurs in your backyard.
posted by blahblahblah (22 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite

 
Hm. So I guess they were six foot turkeys after all.
posted by dephlogisticated at 9:30 AM on February 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


What's black and white and red all over?

An Anchiornis huxleyi!
posted by katemonster at 9:35 AM on February 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


Great post! I would only have to disagree with your use of the word "horrible" in regards to roadside statues.
posted by Sreiny at 9:37 AM on February 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


This made my four year old son's day. Thank you.
posted by Gygesringtone at 9:39 AM on February 20, 2012


This is really cool. As a 35-year-old, I am possessed of an urge to go out and buy some fancy dinosaur coloring books and some really good colored pencils.
posted by infinitywaltz at 9:48 AM on February 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


The recent BBC series Planet Dinosaur had some interesting stuff on this in later episodes.

(And that Age Of Reptiles mural is killer nostalgia for me - had a book based on it as a dinosaur obsessed kid that I read the hell out of)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:56 AM on February 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


A few of those links (or links from those links) are to articles by Brian Switek. I've found his name at the bottom of quite a few excellent articles about dinosaurs. I think he's worth looking for.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:06 AM on February 20, 2012


> As a 35-year-old, I am possessed of an urge to go out and buy some fancy dinosaur coloring books and some really good colored pencils.

Heck, you're an adult with disposable income. Why not just get a feather suit (complete with leggings) like that Anchiornis?
posted by Burhanistan at 10:12 AM on February 20, 2012


Heck, you're an adult with disposable income. Why not just get a feather suit (complete with leggings) like that Anchiornis?

I'd support a kickstarter for something like this, you'd just have to show up at my birthday party.

Of course, given the size of Anchiornis, you'd also need to get Peter Dinkage to wear it, but that would make it even cooler!
posted by leotrotsky at 10:20 AM on February 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I would have expected far more elaborate collars, ruffs and flounces during the Dinosaur renaissance.
posted by rh at 10:23 AM on February 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


He's a chicken, I tell you! A giant chicken!
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:39 AM on February 20, 2012


Previously.
posted by twoleftfeet at 10:58 AM on February 20, 2012


Heck, you're an adult with disposable income. Why not just get a feather suit (complete with leggings) like that Anchiornis?

No want suit. WANT COLORING BOOK!
posted by infinitywaltz at 11:12 AM on February 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Heck, you're an adult with disposable income. Why not just get a feather suit (complete with leggings) like that Anchiornis?

No want suit. WANT COLORING BOOK!


This may be horribly off topic, but every so often i'll buy coloring books or toys and such, and while going through the check out, i get asked "Is this for your child?" and i'll answer with "Sure, let's go with that." most of the time (mostly because of that comic, when i say it's for me, i get really, really odd looks like they want to push the alarm.)
posted by usagizero at 11:26 AM on February 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


While this vision persists in horrible roadside statues

If by "horrible," you mean awesome, I am with you on this. Do not mock dinosaur roadside art; it kept mammal roadside art down for 150 million years!
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:27 PM on February 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


...until the mammals discovered Original Recipe and Extra Crispy KFD.
posted by hangashore at 1:09 PM on February 20, 2012


The age of chickens. The age of monkeys. What's next?
posted by stbalbach at 1:19 PM on February 20, 2012


Age of Newt?

sorry
posted by edgeways at 1:35 PM on February 20, 2012


This discussion would not be complete without artist Jim Gary's car part dinosaurs. We contributed an old car to him many years ago to be used as dino parts. He was a great guy, friendly and funny, and his dinosaurs are great. They are multicolored but skeletal.

http://lostinjersey.wordpress.com/2009/03/12/jim-garys-dinosaurs/
posted by mermayd at 2:25 PM on February 20, 2012


Between "feathered dinosaurs" and "backyard" I suddenly realized our cat, Smudge, is a dinosaur hunter. So are the dogs out there. Granted, they got small along with everything else, but I will never look at a family pet the same way again. The cute and cuddly thing is likely just another tactic in taking down larger land animals like humans. Or they've evolved to leach off of us. Either way, they're scary cool.
posted by jwells at 3:57 PM on February 20, 2012


Age of Newt?

Newts with a moon base, mind.
posted by sebastienbailard at 4:13 PM on February 20, 2012


The Feathered Dinosaurs: The Origin of Birds book is really quite pretty and a good find if you'd like to see more on this topic. It is more vibrant than the Look Inside preview implies.

Gygesringtone, your 4 year old may also like Dinosaurs Life Size by Darren Naish. Darren is a paleontologist who writes the blog Tetrapod Zoology.
posted by onhazier at 6:37 AM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


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