Where the Dinosaurs Are

MY DINOSAUR TALE

AN APOLOGIA FOR DINOPHILIA

I like Dinosaurs.  I like looking at them, sitting on them, reading about them, drawing them, building models and sculptures of them and talking about them.  I think this has been true since I was three or four years old.  A lot of people dismiss my interest by saying,  "I see you never grew out of it."  Au contraire,  the science and art of Dinosaurs is growing faster than I can keep up with it.  This didn't always seem to be the case.  I was fascinated by ancient reptiles as a child in the 1950's, as was true for most of my generation, but it didn't really seem one could make a career about them.  I actually managed to get all the way through a major four year university and earn a degree in Zoology without ever seeing a fossil except for the Physical Anthropology class I took in the final quarter of my senior year.  I heard no references whatsoever about Dinosaurs.  Dinosaurs would have been a guilty pleasure.  I say "would have been," since there wasn't much about them anywhere except in children's' literature.  Where most of my friends stashed Playboys, I would have gladly stashed Dinosaur books and magazines  if I could have found them.  (OK, so maybe I'm exaggerating just a little.)   After college I went on to Medical School, which is fairly famous for allowing minimal free time for paleontological or any other outside pursuits.  Then it was internship and an Internal Medicine residency, also major roadblocks to non-career interests.  Marriage and child raising also had a way of limiting time that could be prioritized for Dinosaurs.  My son always liked cars, stars and martial arts, but never really shared my flickering passion for the past.  There were a few embers being kept warm and I was peripherally aware that our knowledge of Dinosaurs was moving forward.  On our occasional trips to other cities I would usually manage to find a museum and check it out.  My wife always said that we saw every dinosaur on the East Coast; quite a feat for a California couple.  While she wasn't entirely correct, it was true that when we visited Washington, D.C., she wanted to do things like visit the White House and Supreme Court  while I kept going back to the Smithsonian.  It turned out that there were a lot of fires going on in Dinoscience  elsewhere during this time and I finally felt the heat .  The nice thing about having worked hard when I was young is that I can now afford both the time for personal interests and the interests themselves.  Dinosaurs grew up a lot while I wasn't looking and I'm still racing to catch up.  Today the problem is not finding good Dinosaur material, it's trying to decide which to buy, knowing that something more complete, more dynamic or more beautiful may be coming out next month.  It is a lot like trying to keep up with computers.  Our knowledge about Dinosaurs is growing at an amazing rate.  We are continually naming new species, learning about their evolution and even their behavior.  Brilliant men and women are studying them and they are better than ever at communicating with the rest of us about the incredible time that was the Mesozoic!  It is safe to say that it is not possible to outgrow Dinosaurs.

Now I am a physician specializing in Internal Medicine, working in a  group practice in Vista, California.  My office is decorated with Dinosaurs.  My bookshelves are full of dinosaur books, model skeletons, casts of teeth, and Dinosaur sculptures.  I have display cabinets full of minerals and fossils.  People often walk down the hall and stop to stare into my office in amazement.  Of course they usually say, "Wow, my kid would LOVE this!  I see you never outgrew them."  Oh well...


I have had this small bronze dino since
early childhood.  There was something
about  it that struck a chord in me that
is still resonating.  The tooth is from a
Spinosaurus.


 

AntsAllo

ALLOSAURUS

Ants magnificent 1:10 scale skeletal reconstruction of the apex predator of the Jurassic of North America.  This is probably the best full skeleton kit ever produced for commercial sale.  Practically every single bone was a separate piece and the quality of the casting with the  minimal amount of flash was astonishing, given what one usually finds in a resin kit.   There are times when I wish I had painted it to look more "fossilish", but after what I paid for a plexiglass case with a black back panel, I won't seriously consider it.  Anyhow, it is very eye-catching in bone-white.  This kit was sculpted by Dr. Steven Wagner, an Albuquerque Dentist, after extensive research.  Ants planned to produce a number of skeletons, but after getting no farther than a series of some fairly nice dinosaur and hominid skulls, the company went extinct.

I talk a lot about Ants, this kit and many of their other products on the new pages of this website, The Old Bone Odori

 


Here is a website that goes into considerable detail about this kit:  Brantworks
Brant was a research scientist in an Australian biotech company who has a serious interest in dinosaur skeleton models.  His interest was so serious that he became the director of the Australian Age of Dinosaurs, which was a full time job!   Of course, working full-time isn't the same as making a living and he is now back to Biotech, this time in New Zealand.  He managed to track down one of these kits and felt that as rare as they are, he didn't think he should build it.  Instead, he cast a complete new kit from the pieces and then went on to rework the pelvis and sacrum as he found there were some subtle errors in the original, as well as adding a furcula (wishbone).  I am impressed.  In his assembly,  he uses brass connectors in each of the joints rather than glue.  It sounds rather tedious, but it is a great idea.  I built this kit back in the early 90's and it was my first resin kit.  I don't recall that I even used accelerator to get the superglue to set.  Today, it is very fragile.  Brittle may be the most accurate description.  I have probably had to repair the tail at least four times as it tends to sag and eventually fall off somewhere around the 25th vertebra.  I recently moved my practice to a new office and when I picked up the model, the right leg fell off.  I glued it, using Zap-kicker this time, but when I went to put it on its new shelf, it fell off again.  While in transit, the head and first cervical vertebra fell off, and when I accidentally dropped the skull, it and that vertebra went their separate ways.  In regarding the puny locater tabs on the hip and the skull/cervical vertebra articulations, I realized that little short of a solid mass of cured superglue would be likely to stand up to the gravitational stresses those parts will face in the future.  Rather than make it appear that my beast suffers from serious ankylosing spondylitis, I decided it was time for pinning.  Trying to steady the cervicals while drilling a hole through their center without disrupting the entire neck was a pretty anxiety-provoking experience, as was turning the whole model on its side so I could angle the micro bit on the Dremel into the hip socket without breaking anything else.  Ultimately, the operation was a success and I was able to insert short lengths of textured finishing nails into the sockets and join the pieces with a satisfying sense of  strength as the skull and leg now remain steadily suspended. 
  For more on the fixes required as this kit ages, see page 5 of my Old Bone Odori.


The Ankylosaurus and Stegosaurus Skulls are more of Lascha Tskondia's work for Ants, now

available from Echoes In Time.  They were purchased unfinished and I painted them to resemble real fossils.

I have a more images of these interesting models, as well as many others on the new pages at The Old Bone Odori


 

 



RIOJASUCHUS

 

This is the skull of an interesting creature that actually lived somewhat before Dinosaurs and was more closely related to crocodiles.  This was built from a kit by Wiccart.  I have a number of kits from this company featured on these pages.  I believe that I bought an example every kit that Steve Harvey  made, with the exception of his complete Rhamphorhynchus skeleton.  Unfortunately, he closed his company in late 2000 and is no longer producing these kits.  As with Ants, companies making nice dinosaur models are as likely to become extinct as non-avian dinosaurs themselves.  The quality of these models was fabulous and I'll be sorry when I finish building the few still hiding in my closet.    There are some very nice full-skeletal sculptures available today from Healthstones, but you don't get the satisfaction of building and finishing the kit yourself.  Again, there is a lot more on the story behind these skulls and many more images at the new Old Bone Odori




                                                                                                                         TAKING LICENSE WITH DINOSAURS

Every once in a while, someone looks at  my license plate holders and asks me, "What  is a ... how do you pronounce that anyway?"  After I tell them , they usually look just as mystified as before I answered.   However, there are  a few folks who say, "Wow!  How cool!   A Die-nah-NAI-kuss license plate!"  That makes it all worth it.



LINKS- updated 9/24/2014
**********************
There are a tremendous number of websites devoted to Dinosaurs.  I doubt it would be possible even to attempt to list a top 50 without leaving off some excellent sites and offending their authors.  There are sites by museums and universities.  Some sites are devoted to images and sculpture and some concentrate on models.  Some websites tackle certain species and some don't really do dinosaurs at all, but are devoted to other ancient reptiles such as Mosasaurs or Pterosaurs.  There are several websites that are fairly encyclopedic in their approach, and they are full of links to all sorts of other paleontology on the web.

These are among my favorites to visit, and remember that once you get to them, you can go anywhere.  At some point I need to do some serious updating here as I recently found a lot of extinct links and I did remove them.  I suspect some new ones have evolved, but I'll have to look!  

MUSEUMS

The Royal Tyrrell is a fabulous Paleontology-only museum in Alberta.  Their website has a virtual tour of their exhibits.
The American Museum of Natural History has an excellent section on Dinosaurs.
The  Peabody Museum at Yale University has a great tour of the famous Zallinger mural of the Mesozoic and even some of the Paleozoic.

DINOSAUR-LOVERS

  While they may not have been Dinosaurs, there were impressive reptile rulers of the seas during the Mesozoic, and there's a great webpage about them at  THE OCEANS OF KANSAS PALEONTOLOGY .

Some students at a charter school sent me a link to a quick review of how to date a dinosaur.  Dinosaur Fossil Dating .  It is part of a website devoted to dating in general.  I might have thought these kids should be a bit too young for that sort of hook-ups, but then they grow up so fast these days! 

I was recently contacted by a group of kids from the Goodwin Community Center in Asheville, North Carolina.  They found a website about rockhounding and thought that readers here might enjoy it.  It does appear that the oil industry wants people to know a little it about the rocks in which our fuels are found when they aren't fracking them into powder.  There are some nice links here:  Fossils to Shale Rockhounding for Kids.



DINOSAUR MODELS AND REPLICAS

WOW!    TABURIN'S DINOSAURS is an amazing website!  He is an extremely talented woodcarver and has made an extensive collection of skeletal reconstructions.  There are dinosaurs, mosasaurs and pterosaurs.  He shows several of them in various stages of carving and construction so that you can see how he does what he does.  That probably makes them even more impressive.  He also has a number of other fascinating links.  While the site is Japanese,  Taburin-san (actually, I think his name is Ryoji Tabuchi) has more than enough information presented in English, so navigating his site is pretty easy.

I mentioned Brantworks in the caption to my Allosaurus skeleton model above.  Brant Bassam is an Australian with a serious interest in dinosaur skeletal models.  His website has a lot of fascinating images and information about skeletons he has built or is working on.  If he isn't satisfied with the accuracy of a piece, he modifies it or makes his own. 

Horst Bruckmann's Dinosaur Model Collection has many galleries of beautifully built and painted models of dinosaurs and other prehistoric life.

 Kazunari Araki is one of the world's premier dinosaur sculptors and his website is extensive.  

Gaston Design is a company that makes full-size replicas of dinosaur skeletons, so you will need a LOT of shelf space, not to mention a sauropod sized budget to purchase most of their products.  They do have a fabulous 1/12 scale Apatasaurus, sculpted by Phil Platt, that is a bit more affordable. 

  MEGALANIA   is a rather old website that has not been updated since 1998.  Nonetheless,  it is fun to look around at Larry Dunn's models and kit reviews, some of which may actually still be in production.

  PREHISTORIC TIMES is a magazine devoted to art, models, toys, collectibles and a little bit of science about Dinosaurs and other paleo subjects.  It's a lot of fun; the type of magazine I would have loved to stash under my bed in college.  It has provided a place for us Dino-consumers to learn about the amazing things being made today, and probably has done more than anything to provide a market for all of the other sites in this section.

Dinotoy Forum is a vast website devoted to dinosaur toys, models, art, collectibles and the people who collect them. 

Dinosauriana is an extensive website devoted to the history of dinosaur models, toys and collectibles.  The author recently wrote Scale Model Dinosaurs, a book cataloging every dinosaur model and sculpture that he could document over the past three of four decades.  I am actually included among its pages as a featured collector!

I haven't checked Facebook lately but I am sure there must be plenty of dinosaur activity there. 



Back to the other pages in this website:
 WHERE THE DINOSAURS ARE HOMEPAGE
 TYRANNOSAURS: A CALL TO ARMS
 RAPTOR REVISIONISM
 MESOZOIC MEANDERINGS
 ART AND ARTIFICE
THE OLD BONE ODORI




 Thank you for visiting.   If you have any comments, please let me know at  tyrarex2*gmail.com .  Use @, not *!
If you are interested in another area of  paleontology,  I also have a page about Trilobites at  AMONG MY TRILOBITES .
My family Homepage is at the  GALEF OCEANSIDE ASYLUM

MACHOSAURUS REX :  Horror of the Mesozoic
It has been theorized that the large structures on the head may have been
used for signaling a mate.  It is unlikely it could hear very well at all.


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