TEL: 01305 262735

Wednesday 14th March 2018

From 19:00 until 20:00

Venue: Dorset County Museum, High West Street, Dorchester, Dorset, DT1 1XA

Geology Revealed:  The science of palaeo-art: what we can, and cannot, deduce about the life appearance of fossil animals

Dr Mark Witton

Visual representations of dinosaurs and other fossil animals everywhere in the modern day, following 200 years of development of a medium called ‘palaeo-art’ – the artistic reconstruction of fossil animals informed by fossil and other scientific data. These representations vary considerably in adherence to contemporary science: some are highly credible takes on fossil animal appearance based on cutting-edge research, others are created using ideas discredited years or even decades ago. This talk explores the surprising detail of extinct animal life appearance that can be predicted from fossil remains, from the shape of animal noses to the colour of their skin, and explores how palaeo-art is increasingly about applying modern science, and less about artistic whimsy.

Mark is a Research Associate at the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences in Portsmouth.  He completed his PhD in Pterosaur palaeoecology and diversityin 2008.  He has over 20 published papers and book chapters and is the author of Pterosaurs: Natural History, Evolution, Anatomy (Princeton University Press, 2013) and Recreating an Age of Reptiles (Crowood Press, 2017).  Mark has been a Freelance palaeoartist since 2006.  Artwork was recently featured in Dinosaur Art II: the Cutting Edge of Paleoart.  He is a consultant and designer for TV, comics and film including Walking with Dinosaurs 3D (20th Century Fox), Planet Dinosaur (BBC).   2018  books include The Palaeoart Handbook (the first ever guide to palaeao-art methods) and Life Through the Ages II, a sequel to Charles Knight’s 1946 classic tour through the history of life

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Geology Revealed:  The science of palaeo-art by Dr Mark Witton