Monday, November 30, 2015

The 2015 Dinosaur Gift Guide

The winter solstice rapidly approaches, and the advertising world's constant hum has risen to an insistent howl. If you've got an enthusiast of prehistory in your life and are looking for something special to give them, Love in the Time of Chasmosaurs has you covered. Last year, I posted a three-part guide to independent paleoartists (parts one, two, and three) who all deserve attention and patronage, and whose work would delight fans of paleontology. Since most of those listings are still active, go check them out.

This year, I'm featuring a fresh assortment of individual products, some from paleoart veterans, some from new names. As usual when I do list-y sort of stuff, I'm not pretending to enshrine a definitive List To Rule All Lists. These are cool dinosaur gift ideas that caught my fancy, and I think they have a fair chance of catching other fancies, so let's let the fancy-catching begin.

Ricardo Delgado's "Age of Reptiles: Ancient Egyptians"

Ricardo Delgado has returned with a new batch of Mesozoic comics, this time focusing his eye on Cretaceous Egypt. The collected Age of Reptiles: Ancient Egyptians is now available for preorder, with a release date of January 19.

Fred Wierum's "The Amazing Age of Dinosaurs" coloring book

Fred Wierum has been on an impressive paleoart streak this year, with a bunch of great work for #drawdinovember, his tyrannosaur resting in golden light, and a recent stunning tribute to Pixar's The Good Dinosaur. So pick up a copy of his coloring book!

Levi Hastings' "Claws, Spikes, and Dinosaur Stripes" coloring book

Since one totally excellent dinosaur coloring book is never enough, purchase a copy of illustrator Levi Hastings' tribute to mesozoic fauna, Claws, Spikes, and Dinosaur Stripes. More abstracted in style than Wierum's work, it's full of dynamic compositions begging for pigmentation.

John Davies' "Cucumbertops and Other Animals of the Veggiesaur Kingdom"

Even more fanciful than Hastings' work is the charming book by Jon Davies, Cucumbertops and Other Animals of the Veggiesaur Kingdom. Perfect for that vegetarian paleofanatic in your life.

Juan Carlos Alonso and Greg Paul's "Ancient Earth Journal: Early Cretaceous"

None other than Gregory S. Paul has returned to the bookshelves with his illustrations for Juan Carlos Alonso's Ancient Earth Journal: The Early Cretaceous. And if that's not quite enough GSP under the tree, grab one of his "Your Inner Dinosaur" calendars.

R.A. Faller's "Genderfluid Jobaria" illustration, from the "Pride Dinosaurs" series

This year, illustrator and character designer R.A. Faller created a series called "Pride Dinosaurs", celebrating the diversity of human sexuality. They are available on a wide variety of formats at Redbubble, but to just pick one, how about Polyamorous Prosaurolophus on a laptop skin?

Matt Martyniuk's "Ascent of Birds" illustration

Matt Martyniuk runs a Redbubble shop for his PanAves publishing imprint. I especially love the Proto-Birds and "Ascent of Birds" posters.

Brynn Metheny's "Saur" calendar

If your dinosaur-smitten loved one also nurses a serious astronomical obsession, Brynn Metheney's "Saur" calendar will do the trick, featuring a year's worth of astronaut dinosaurs.

Angela Connor's Kaprosuchus with boars illustration, from her "Copy Croc" collection

Angela Connor (ICYMI, read my April 2015 interview with her) has made an adorable set of prehistoric croc mugs, featuring Pakasuchus, Laganosuchus, and Kaprosuchus. They're fun plays on the animals' nicknames: cat-croc, pancake-croc, and boar-croc.

Gareth Monger's "Yi qi Express"

Gareth Monger has a bunch of cool stuff at his Redbubble shop, and my favorite is definitely this toon Yi qi. Hilarious, perfect, would be pretty great on a mug. A WWII bomber art-inspired depiction of a notorious weirdo of a flying dinosaur? What a time to be alive.

The cover of "Mammoth is Mopey," by Jennie and me

Finally, the children's book I published this year with my wife, Jennie, is raising money for the Jurassic Foundation, so half of your Mammoth is Mopey purchase goes to funding the researchers who make all of the delightful depictions of prehistoric life you've seen in this post possible. Every limited edition hardcover order comes with an expanded ebook. You can order them here.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Vintage Dinosaur Art: Dinosaur Skeletons

Regular readers will know that I can't get enough of dinosaur pop-up books, having reviewed several over the years, and 1991's Dinosaur Skeletons is a worthy addition to the canon. Intriguingly, the book's concept is remarkably similar to that of 1984's Dinosaurs - a Lost World in Three Dimensions, only with considerably more up-to-date artwork - the titular skeletons are the pop-ups, while fleshed-out dinos are confined to the 2D illustrations. Not to worry - even a skeleton can threaten to take your eye out, especially when there's a mouth full of pointy teeth thrust in one's general direction.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

TetZooCon 2015

There can't be many conventions that have spun off from a popular zoology-themed blog and equally popular podcast about new tapirs and charging for rambling answers to questions about bipedal combat in deer, so it was very heartening that the first TetZooCon was such a success. Successful enough, in fact, to spawn a successor event, once again host to an impressive array of speakers covering an eclectic range of topics. Only at TetZooCon will you be so well informed about legendary pygmy elephants, bizarre ichthyosaurs, condom-inflated pigeon carcasses and the right circumstances to ask to use your very wealthy friend's Rolls for promotional purposes. It was, once again, a resounding success. (All photos by Niroot unless otherwise stated.)

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Mesozoic Miscellany 80

In the News

A new big hadrosaur is on the loose, showing off a wee crest hypothesized to be transitional between the non-crested and crested members of the family. Read the description of Probrachylophosaurus bergei and gawk at John Conway's gorgeous portrait.

There's a new feathered Ornithomimus specimen from Canada, and Brian Switek and Everything Dinosaur both covered the discovery. And, yes: gawk at Julius Csotonyi's gorgeous illustration.

Liz Martin-Silverstone wrote about her recently published research into the relationship between skeletal mass and total body mass in birds and how useful it may be in estimating body mass in critters outside of Neornithes. John Tennant also covered the paper at PLOS Paleo.

How wide could theropods open their mouths? New research explores the question.

Around the Dinoblogosphere

Hat-tip to reader David Landis for letting us know about The New Yorker's recent look at Virginia Lee Burton's Life Story, which we covered for a Vintage Dinosaur Art post five years back.

Lisa Buckley's got a new blog, so head over and say "howdy."

Asher recently had another fantastic paleontology article published, about the journey of a Clidastes specimen in Alabama.

At the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History blog, Antoine Bercovici writes about the end-Cretaceous (or close to it, at least) dinosaurs of France.

Jason Brougham covered the challenges of reconstructing the mysterious Benettites.

Everything Dinosaur shows off the new CollectA Spinosaurus.

Speaking of spinos, Duane Nash wrote more about Spinosaurus lifestyle and about the and the recent Sigilmassasaurus paper.

The Dinosaur Toy Blog showed off the winners of this year's Dinosaur Toy Forum Diorama Contest. I always love checking out the entries.

Adventures in fossil prep: Daspletosaurus ilium edition! Brought to you by Anthony Maltese.

Andy Farke interviews Justin Adams about a new project to archive fossil mammals at Ditsong National Museum of Natural History in South Africa. Check out part one and two.

Fernanda Castano wrote about a new species of pollen grain from Argentina, including Darwin's puzziling over the appearance of dicots in the fossil record.

Chris DiPiazza made a sequel of his fun illustration from last year: check out his new line up of monstrously-named taxa for Halloween.

A bit more about SVP: Francois Gould wrote about how the conference remains his home even as he shifts from the paleontological research he pursued as a student. Palaeocast's Caitlyn Colleary filed a three-part report focusing on outreach, new research, and the history of the conference.

Paleoart Pick

The Cartoon Guide to Vertebrate Evolution by Albertonykus is freakin' sweet and now you can buy it at his new Redbubble shop!

The Cartoon Guide to Vertebrate Evolution by Albertonykus, shared with the artist's permission.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Mighty Bones: Museum für Naturkunde Berlin

Berlin's a fascinating city and all, drawing people for its rich, tumultuous history as much as its present-day reputation for 'cool' (whatever that is. Like I'd know). But in the end, dinosaur enthusiasts will only have one destination in mind upon arriving in the city - the Museum für Naturkunde, home of the certified Tallest Mounted Dinosaur Skeleton in the World™. I visited on my second day in the city, and let me assure you, man-sized humeri were just dancing in front of my eyes before that. No amount of refreshingly inexpensive beer was going to distract me on my pilgrimage to the holy hall of bones on the Invalidenstraße. It doesn't disappoint.