Animal PR

What modern animals would look like if we drew them the way we reconstruct dinosaurs.


douglas said...

The supposed 'reconstructions' of modern animals the artists did suffer from the same sort of thing I used to see in Architecture school thesis a lot- material worked quite hard to prove the thesis, but if you looked at how manipulated they had to be to do that, you understood it weakened the thesis instead. The elephant drawing is the best example- they ignore the huge hole and bony supports for the trunk and just put flesh over it- as per their simplified formula for how scientist reconstructed dinosaur likenesses from fossil records, but surely you'd have to see that there had to be something where the trunk connects to the skull of an elephant. On the other hand, isn't it good science to not suppose something exists until you actually have evidence for it? It's easy to mock your predecessors when you've had the chance to build on their foundation and learn a few new facts, but that's just hubris.

Texan99 said...

Do you take it as mocking? I hope it's a corrective that makes us consider reconstructions a little more skeptically. They're hard to get right, and it's very assume to assume we know more than we do.

MikeD said...

The majority of the problem is that we reconstruct dinosaur skeletons on the assumption that they are anatomically similar to reptiles. Thus, scaly skin, no lips (or very small lips), no cheeks, and sparse to no body fat. Drawing them like birds has its own pitfalls (as not all birds have colorful, lengthy plumage. Imagine a penguin if you will.

Now, some of the ideas about dinosaurs (thin to no lips, no cheeks, etc) are supported by the lack of vascular pits and attachment sites on the skull. It is unlikely that T-Rex had cheeks for that very reason. Drawing a cat in that fashion (and with a scaly face) makes no sense, as it has those very pits and musculature attachment points indicating lips). But by all means, ignore all that to imply that we've just got it all wrong. Based upon the theropods (the birdlike dinosaurs). Odds are there wasn't a feathered apatosaur on the planet, but the author of that article apparently wants you to assume they were.