On this blog, we’ve naturally shared a great many vintage illustrations of sauropods depicted as animals obliged to live waste-deep (or deeper) in water, lest their inadequate legs fracture like matchsticks under their enormously excessive bulk. They serve as a charming reminder of the advancement of palaeontological science; like the Crystal Palace behemoths, a testament to both artistic endeavour and the meticulous work of hundreds of individual scientists, piecing together the now overwhelming evidence that these were predominantly terrestrial animals.
Or so we thought. For you see, we were wrong – not just about the sauropods, but about all non-avian dinosaurs. I mean, just look at them. They were really big, and their tails were enormous. And dinosaurs were reptiles, big reptiles, like big lizards, yeah? I saw a big lizard in a zoo, and its tail was dragging on the ground. But you never see a dinosaur tail drag mark, even though their tails must have been, like, big dead weights. How could that be? Well, obviously, they were all aquatic! That’s it! I mean, my plastic toy dinosaurs even stand up in the water quite well on their own! And the world in the Mesozoic was just one big flood plain, everywhere, and because of the giant body of water and the supercontinent and something something flat Earth, the dinosaurs were kept nice and warm all the time. Luxuriating in a swampy bath…
For those who are wondering what on Earth I’m on about, I am referring, of course, to the mind-blowing, science-overturning, paradigm-shiftin’ work of Brian Ford. First popping up in Laboratory News back in 2012 to peddle his utter nonsense about dinosaurs, he’s now gone and had a book published – by (an imprint of) Harper Collins, no less. The synopsis on Amazon has changed over the last few weeks; the ‘dino bath’ claim was originally up there, but it’s been replaced by a few modest words about how Ford is not merely overturning all of dinosaur science, but human history as well. What a guy.
In any case, the wonderful German illustrator Sara Otterstätter (website) noted that Ford’s claims about a uniformly warm, aquatic environment made the Mesozoic sound like “a spa for dinosaurs”. And so the above illustration came to be, depicting a group of luxuriating sauropods (which admittedly more closely resemble Diplodocus than Brontosaurus, but I can’t resist alliteration). Excellent work, and you can be sure it’ll be adorning merchandise in her Etsy and Redbubble shops very soon.
Nice work Sara! And no, Too Big To Walk isn’t getting a review here. Not from me, anyway.