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  • No other animals from the deep past capture our imaginations like dinosaurs.

  • Any kid old enough to hold a crayon can probably draw one.

  • And we older kids have our own images that come to mind when we think of the terrible

  • lizards.

  • But the reason that we have to imagine the non-avian dinosaurs, of course, is that theyre

  • extinct.

  • Thankfully, a ton of science has gone into our understanding of how dinosaurs looked,

  • and acted.

  • But the truth is, weve only had a few hundred years to bring that picture into focus.

  • So if you page through a book about natural history, or stroll through a museum hall,

  • youll get some idea of what paleontologists think dinosaurs looked like.

  • But even the most up-to-date restorations of our prehistoric favorites are only part

  • of the story.

  • Because our image of dinosaurs has been constantly changing -- evolving, you might say -- ever

  • since naturalists started studying them about 350 years ago.

  • And this evolution is reflected in hundreds of yearsworth of drawings, paintings,

  • and models of dinosaurs, each made in an attempt to get us a little closer to visualizing animals

  • that have been lost to time.

  • Taken together, these pictures can tell us a whole lot about just how much weve learned

  • in just a short three and a half centuries.

  • So today, were going to explore the history of dinosaur science, as seen through the history

  • of dinosaur art.

  • When naturalists first started to find dinosaur bones, they didn’t quite know what to make

  • of themas you can tell from the very first illustration of a dino fossil ever published.

  • Back in 1677 -- more than 160 years before the worddinosaurwas even coined -- an

  • English chemist named Robert Plot published his Natural History of Oxfordshire, a catalog

  • of rocks, minerals and fossils from his home county.

  • And it included a drawing of a strange bone that had been found in a limestone quarry.

  • Plot could tell that it was the end of a femur, or a thigh bone.

  • But it was clearly from an animal far larger than any living in England at that time.

  • He suggested that the thigh fragment might have belonged to a Roman war elephant, or

  • maybe even a giant human.

  • But it turned out that, in his book, Plot had given the world the very first scientific

  • illustration of a dinosaur fossil.

  • In 1763, English naturalist Richard Brookes re-printed Plot’s illustration, in a six-volume

  • set he called A System of Natural History.

  • And Brookes bestowed a name on the fossil.

  • In a caption of Plot’s picture, he called the specimen Scrotum humanum.

  • Because...really?

  • Because although he knew it was a piece of a femur, he thought it looked like … a pair

  • of human testicles.

  • Paleontologists now know that bone belonged to Megalosaurus, a dinosaur named by WIlliam

  • Buckland in 1824.

  • Working from some more and better material -- including a lower jaw and teeth -- Buckland

  • was able to tell that this animal was a previously-unknown kind of carnivorous reptile.

  • To Buckland’s mind, the creature looked not like a giant, or an even elephant, but like

  • a crocodile -- although, one about the size of a bus.

  • And from this time we still have a lithograph of the crucial fossil -- the one that established

  • Megalosaurus as a new, fierce form of ancient life.

  • From these rather inauspicious beginnings -- cases of mistaken identity involving war

  • elephants and human genitals -- the idea started to sink in that dinosaurs were something truly

  • special -- specifically, a kind of reptile that used to exist, but didn’t any more.

  • But, in the early 1800s, scientists still pictured dinosaurs as being much like the

  • modern reptiles they knew.

  • The English physician Gideon Mantell, for example, figured that if dinosaurs were reptiles,

  • then they mustve basically been just giant lizards.

  • Based on some fossil teeth that he found in Sussex, Mantell was convinced that he had

  • found the prehistoric equivalent of an iguana -- albeit one about 30 meters long.

  • He made a sketch of the creature’s skeleton in his personal notes, following the same

  • skeletal plan of the modern lizard.

  • And in 1825 he officially gave the animal the name Iguanodon, origuana tooth.”

  • A few years later, Mantell was visited by artist John Martin.

  • Martin was famous for his paintings of dramatic, apocalyptic scenes, like his 1822 painting,

  • The Destruction of Pompeii.

  • And after meeting Mantell, Martin used his vision of the Iguanodon to create the first

  • -- and maybe the most over-the-top -- scene of dinosaur combat ever committed to canvas.

  • This painting, The Country of the Iguanodon is all coils and teeth and claws.

  • It’s all very

  • Rawr.

  • And at the time, it summed up what experts thought ancient reptiles were like: Giant,

  • vicious lizards who hissed and snapped at each other.

  • But all that was about to change.

  • British anatomist Richard Owen proposed that Megalosaurus, Iguanodon, and another newly

  • discovered animal, called Hylaeosaurus, all shared special physical traits -- found in

  • their hips and other bones -- that made them different from all other reptiles.

  • And in 1842, he came up with a new name for this form of extinct life: “dinosaur,”

  • from the Greek forterrible lizard.”

  • But Owen went even further than that.

  • Dinosaurs weren’t just supersized lizards, he said.

  • In many ways, they resembled mammals in their structure and their stance.

  • And Owen portrayed his vision of dinosaurs not on paper, or canvas, but in three

  • dimensions!

  • For England’s Great Exhibition of 1854, Owen worked with artist Benjamin Waterhouse

  • Hawkins to create life-sized versions of dinosaurs and other ancient creatures, as he pictured

  • them.

  • The models were so immense that Hawkins even famously held a New Yearsbanquet inside

  • a model of Iguanodon!

  • And when the models were unveiled to the public, they became the new image of what we thought

  • dinosaurs looked like.

  • These animals were built more like rhinos, carrying their legs under their bodies, but

  • with scaly skin and tails that dragged on the ground behind them.

  • And it was other new insights into dinosaurslegs that led to the next big shift in how

  • we imagined the animals.

  • Most of the earliest dinosaur fossils were found in Europe and were extremely fragmented.

  • Sometimes it was hard to tell which parts went with which.

  • But when naturalists started looking in North America, they found more complete skeletons

  • that made paleontologists completely re-think dinosaurs.

  • A pair of critical finds were made in New Jersey.

  • In 1858, a farmer found the bones of an animal we now call Hadrosaurus.

  • The skeleton wasn’t complete, but there were enough parts of the arms, legs, and tail

  • to know that the forelimbs of this dinosaur were shorter than the hindlimbs.

  • Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins was called in again to reconstruct the dinosaur’s skeleton

  • for the public in Philadelphia, the first one to be put on display anywhere.

  • And what was weird about this model was that ... it stood on two legs!

  • The discovery of a carnivorous dinosaur also in New Jersey, eventually named Dryptosaurus,

  • showed that it was bipedal, too.

  • And its discoverer, the notoriously cranky American paleontologist Edward Drinker Cope,

  • drew the dinosaur in a crouched, kangaroo-like pose, totally different from Owen’s Megalosaurus.

  • Better finds only added fuel to this revolution in how we pictured dinosaurs.

  • The discovery of a whole herd of Iguanodon in a Belgian coal mine in 1878, including

  • complete skeletons, confirmed that those dinosaurs had short arms and long legs, suggesting that

  • they were also largely bipedal

  • And the discovery of entirely new genera, like Stegosaurus, Brontosaurus, and Triceratops,

  • showed that dinosaurs were stranger and more diverse than anything paleontologists

  • expected.

  • Bone by bone and skeleton by skeleton, a new image of dinosaurs started to take hold.

  • Even though they were still classified as reptiles, by late 19th century, they were

  • seen as acting more like mammals or birds than like lizards.

  • An important painting from 1896 drives this point home.

  • Charles R. Knight, working for the American Museum of Natural History, illustrated a moment

  • of vicious combat between two snarling Dryptosaurus.

  • These weren’t Martin’s dragon-like lizards, or Owen’s rhino-like reptiles.

  • Instead, they were agile, bird-like dinosaurs unlike anything we’d seen before.

  • Then, at the start of the 20th century, the scientific opinion on dinosaurs shifted yet

  • again.

  • By this point, dinosaurs were seen as big and weird and scary -- great for drawing museum

  • crowds! -- but their reputation was starting to tarnish.

  • If dinosaurs were so great, some paleontologists wondered, then why’d they go extinct?

  • Instead of being awe-inspiring, dinos came to be seen as inferior, an evolutionary failure.

  • And this attitude was reflected in the paleo-art of the time, which depicted dinosaurs as slow,

  • lumbering beasts -- usually stuck in some swamp.

  • Don’t get me wrong,

  • the artists of this time depicted these scenes beautifully.

  • Artists like Knight, Zdeněk Burian, and Rudolph Zallinger created some of the most iconic

  • and detailed dinosaur art of all time.

  • They filled books and museums with their work, and you can still see many of their murals

  • on display at places like the Field Museum and the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History.

  • It’s just that, their generation saw dinosaurs as tubby, dimwitted losers in the evolutionary

  • game of life.

  • By the late 1960s, though, new finds had experts questioning what they thought they knew about

  • dinosaurs.

  • The key here was the discovery of Deinonychus- the inspiration for Jurassic Park’s tenacious

  • raptors” - by American paleontologist John Ostrom in 1969.

  • This small carnivore had a stiff, counterbalancing tail, and a wicked, sickle-shaped, “killing

  • clawon each of its feet.

  • It was impossible to envision this thing as a sluggish, dumb reptile.

  • It was nimble and dynamic, evenone might say...birdlike.

  • This revelation sparked what came to be known as the Dinosaur Renaissance of the 1970s and

  • 80s.

  • It opened up old debates and sparked new ones, transforming what we thought dinosaurs were

  • like.

  • And paleoart went along for the ride!

  • What paleontologists were doing in labs and museums, illustrators like Greg Paul, Ely

  • Kish, Douglas Henderson, and more were doing with their sketches and paintings.

  • In the work of these artists, dinosaurstails were lifted off the ground, their postures

  • were adjusted, and they were shown running, jumping, clawing, and biting with greater

  • vigor than ever before.

  • And of course, as with anything that evolves, our image of dinosaurs hasn’t stopped changing.

  • These days, paleontologists are finding more dinosaurs than ever.

  • In fact, a new species is now being named, on average, every two weeks!

  • But more importantly, were learning a lot more about dinosaur biology, like their anatomy

  • and physiology.

  • In addition to fossil bones, researchers are now studying things like skin impressions,

  • feathers, and other soft tissues -- giving us a fuller picture of not only how these

  • animals looked, but how they moved and what they could, and couldn’t, do.

  • In particular, the discovery of dozens of dinosaurs with feathers and fuzz has totally

  • changed how we see some of our favorites.

  • And recent paleo-artwork has reflected these changes.

  • Artists like Julius Csotonyi, Gabriel Ugueto, Nobu Tamura and Emily Willoughby are incorporating

  • the latest insights from the field, and theyre also using new technology, like 3D scans,

  • to re-create dinos in more detail than ever.

  • Where paleoartists of old worked with paint and lithographs, many modern artists have

  • gone digital, rendering new visions of prehistoric life as soon as theyre announced.

  • What really sets these modern paleoartists apart is how they draw on the traditions of

  • previous generations, while also challenging the tropes and ideas that came before.

  • Paleoart is now in its great Experimental Phase, reflecting what we expect dinosaurs

  • were like, while also speculating about what we don’t yet know.

  • But the lesson here isn’t that modern paleoart is right, while earlier editions were wrong.

  • The art of dinosaurs is always a reflection of the time it’s made in.

  • Just as dinosaurs themselves evolved, so have our thoughts about their lives.

  • Paleoart is a living document of these alterations.

  • Weve come a long way from the days when we thought the fossils of dinosaurs represented

  • a race of giants, or big lizards, or bulky pseudo-mammals.

  • And a hundred years from now, natural historians may look back on the illustrations we use

  • today and marvel at just how wrong we were.

  • Thankfully, the more science reveals to us about the nature of the non-avian dinos,

  • the closer we get to representing the truth in our illustrations.

  • But as long as dinosaurs remain extinct, there might always be a little part of them that

  • well just have to imagine for ourselves.

  • What do you want to know about the story of life on Earth?

  • Let us know in the comments.

  • And don’t forget to go to youtube.com/eons and subscribe!

  • But the fun doesn’t end here!

  • Do yourself a favor and check out some of our sister channels from PBS Digital Studios.

No other animals from the deep past capture our imaginations like dinosaurs.

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恐龙图解史(An Illustrated History of Dinosaurs)

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    joey joey 發佈於 2021 年 05 月 03 日
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