Podcast Show Notes: Episode 27 – Dinosaurium and Matt Dempsey

Podcast Show Notes

As the summer fades and the leaves start falling, nothing better but to sit and listen to the latest episode of the LITC podcast. Marc, Niels and Natee discuss a favourite from the early 90s: Donna Braginetz’ brilliant Dinosaurium, the dream museum in book form. In a not dissimilar vein, Marc and Niels interview Matt Dempsey, whose musculoskeletal dinosaur reconstructions are a great help to palaeoartists everywhere. Lots of discussions about tyrannosaur legs, ornithischian quadrupedality and recreations of Jurassic Park abound.

What does Peak 90s look like? How can you tell a corn snake from a milk snake? Can a T. rex look too good? Will there ever be justice for Tenontosaurus? All this and more in episode 27.

In the News

  • Marc read a paper on the excavation of the Rutland Sea Dragon, a huge Temnodontosaurus. Having gone to Rutland Water, it’s all come a lot closer. The paper can be read here.
  • Marc and Niels visited Naturalis, the natural history museum in Leiden. Accounts of our previous visits can be found here, here and here.
  • Fujianvenator is a new anchiornithine paravian dinosaur found in the Nanyuan Formation of China. The description paper can be found here. It is generally interpreted as a long-legged wading bird-like creature, but when Natee illustrated it, it took on a different form. Natee talks us through their process.

Vintage Dinosaur Art

Dinosaurium came out in 1993, the Year of the Dinosaur. It was written by Barbara Brenner and was the first kid’s book illustrated by Donna Braginetz.

  • Niels’ original review of Dinosaurium is here.


Matt Dempsey is a palaeoartist and PhD student at Liverpool University who studies musculosekeletal anatomy. His technical work, intended to be used as reference for other artists, reflects this. He also makes other kinds of art.

  • Matt Dempsey’s DeviantArt profile is here, his ArtStation is here.

Thank you for listening to the podcast! Our music was generously provided by Rohan Long. You can purchase his music at Bandcamp, and follow him at Twitter.

By becoming a patron on Patreon, you can help us continue creating podcasts and writing this blog. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter. See you next time!

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  • Reply
    October 2, 2023 at 9:20 am

    Ah, the scripted vs. freestyle conundrum. It’s a good question! As a sort-of podcaster myself, though a scripted format has obvious benefits to streamlining the editing process, I personally tend to find a looser style more fun to listen to (and record).

  • Reply
    October 3, 2023 at 6:21 pm

    wonderful episode, as always. But I confess that despite Marc Vincent’s remarks near the beginning, it was not until the full explanation at the very end that I realized this episode was less scripted than usual. So I don’t really know what to say as to scripted versus unscripted. Whatever you all feel happiest about.

  • Reply
    Donna Braginetz
    October 4, 2023 at 7:10 am

    This really made my week! Thank you for the kind remarks about Dinosaurium. I feel flattered to be included in “peak ‘90s paleoart.” Here are some replies to various topics brought up during the podcast.

    1) The lateral view… For me, it was less “dogmatic” and more a relief – a quick way to get a lot of animals on the page while burning out as few brain cells as possible. In the early ‘90s (I was working on this book during 1992), reliable resource materials were hard to come by. Museum mounts were outdated and this was still the pre-internet, even pre-email era. I don’t think I’d attended an SVP meeting yet, and even Jurassic Park and the Dinosaur Mailing List was months away. Some days I would have given my pinky finger for a top or frontal view of a skull. Predatory Dinosaurs of the World and Dinosaurs Past and Present, Vol. 2, with their beautiful Greg Paul skeletals were like gifts from the gods.
    2) I’m glad you like the camouflage page. It’s my favorite.
    3) You wondered if I’d been discouraged from putting feathers on dinosaurs. Not at all. My restorations have always been conservative. Greg Paul was knowledgeable enough to push the envelope; I was not. The Chinese feathered dinosaurs were still years away.
    4) I don’t recall what I used as a reference for the Allosaurus head.
    5) Yep, Dinosaurium is a safe and inviting Mesozoic landscape. I don’t care for gore, especially when the intended audience is younger kids. Also, I purposely bumped up the color palette and jollied up the dinosaurs. BTW, I was working in gouache back then and switched to acrylics shortly after this project.
    6) I guess I owe Tenontosaurus an apology, although it does show up on page 11, safe and sound. In my defense, less dinosaur behavior was known back then and illustrators were thrilled to be able to tell a (hopefully) verified story.
    7) Page 31 – The lady in the blue-striped shirt — that’s my mom!

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