The Significance of Dinosaur Art
Dinosaurs are creatures that seem to fascinate humans, since all we have left are their fossils. Although, through art, their bodies can be put back together and we have a better sense of what they looked like. The problem with art is that pictures can sometimes be disproportionate, unrealistic, or even made up. Young children who learn about dinosaurs may think that they are actually different colors and can talk for example. This is why it is important to make dinosaur art as realistic as possible and more informative.
In an article titled, "Do They Really Look Like That? The Science Of Dino Art", writer John Roach discusses people who do art and paleobiology for a living. A man by the name of Chris Sloan is a paleo artist for National Geographic in Washington, D.C.. He's not just a simple artist for the magazine, but also a researcher. He has to do activities such as "attend paleontology conferences, read scientific journals, study dinosaur fossils, talk with scientists, and go on digs"(National Geographic Society 2). This is in order to make dinosaur illustrations attractive to the eye and scientifically accurate.
Being a paleo artist also requires paying close attention to the most recent discoveries. New discoveries happen all the time, and artists are very dependant on the information so that they can start their next project. It is important, however, not to be fooled by incorrect information, or hoaxes, which also happens a lot. A good paleo artist will do extensive research on the new information and get to the bottom of it before beginning a piece of art. Sloan, for example, will "read scientific papers, visit paleontologists, or sometimes travel to where a dinosaur was found" (4). That way, he knows for sure that what he heard was true and can start creating a new piece.
Besides paying attention to new discoveries, paleo artists must notice how information is interpreted by different people. Paleo artist John Sibbick states that a bunch of people could have the same scientific information and fossil evidence in front of them, but how
they all interpret it is very different. Everyone has a different artistic style, but the important thing is that their pictures clearly depict dinosaurs in an accurate environment with the dinosaurs realistic themselves.
Through the years, paleo art has increased greatly, due to an increase in scientific findings and information being confirmed. The understanding of dinosaurs has increased and "the art has changed to reflect that", said Sloan (2). One step to an increase in dinosaur understanding and art was in the 1980's. Paleontologist Robert Bakker came up with a theory that dinosaurs were warm-blooded. He thought that fossils looked more like warm-blooded bones. Eventually his theory was accepted all over. This had a big impact on dinosaur art and then it encountered a drastic change. Instead of dinosaurs standing around and doing...