The coolest thing I’ve seen yet this year

7 03 2007

As a young evolutionist-to-be, I remember spending many and evening watching dinosaur documentaries I ceaselessly badgered my parents into taping for me. I’m sure they all still exist somewhere in the bowels of a VHS cabinet, but the memories I got from watching Christopher Reeve and Gary Owens tell me about dinosaurs have endured. In fact, the first time I ever became familiar with scientists and science in general was via these shows, introducing me to Stephen Jay Gould, Bob Bakker, Dale Russell, David Weisampel, Phil Currie, and even one of my own professors, Dr. William Gallagher of the NJ State Museum. In any event, one of the few snippets I remember with some clarity is Dale Russell’s anthropocentric dinosaur, or essentially his version of what a certain type of troodontid would look like today if they had not gone extinct during the intervening time. The creature always struck me as odd, looking more like something from the Star Trek or a crackpots UFO claim than anything serious, and while the thought experiment garnered some amount of attention (even getting considerable time in Sagan’s The Dragons of Eden), it is rightly dismissed today as implausible. This was Russell’s idea of future evolution for dinosaurs;

Anthroposaurus

Alternate evolution hypotheses have always interested me, almost being akin to cryptozoology, and I always enjoyed Dougal Dixon’s fanciful ideas about what might have evolved (or might yet evolve, provided we destroy our own species). More impressive, however, is the recent artwork of “Nemo Ramjet,” which can be seen at this website (hat-tip to Tetrapod Zoology). The artwork is simply amazing, and while it may merely be “just for fun,” it is far more enchanting than any ideas about hypothetic dinosaur evolution than I’ve ever seen (i.e. both Land of the Lost series, the Dinosaur World books, an episode of Terror Vision, etc. etc. etc.) Seriously, do yourself a favor and visit the site; it will absolutely blow you away.


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