Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Anomalocarids in Art

With the subject of September's upcoming Time Capsule being a little more obscure, I thought it'd be best to get their summary post up sooner then later.

These would of course be the Anomalocaridids. A group of enigmatic arthropod that were not only one of the most alien looking creatures to have ever lived on our planet, but were one of the first to do so!

I have tracked down as many pictures of these creatures as I could, as though well known within palaeo circles, it is virtually unknown to the public.

For anyone wanting to do research on Anomalcaridids, Sam Gon's website is an excellent source of non technical (and some technical) information. Also though 20 years old now, Stephen J. Gould's book on the Burgess Shale, Wonderful Life will certainly give you an excellent introduction to why these animals have had a big impact on palaeontological studies in the last 3 decades.

All the pieces included here are the most popular and accuarte depictions of Anomalocaridids currently on the web. I have tried to track down the artists of these pieces as best I could, however in many cases I could not find them. This is a sad case when websites use other peoples' work to enhance their own site without proper acknowledgement. A stance we here at ART Evolved do not endorese. Though we have used this art (without permission) we are attempting to remedy this lack of credit by tracking down all the "unknown artists" who have found the their work posted on the web.

If you know any of the "Unknown" creators of the pieces below please let me know. It is important that all art used on the internet be credited to its proper creator. If your work appears on this website, and you wish us to take it down, we will do so immediately. Email us at .

We at ART Evolved are working on collecting and documenting all these piece's creators for a definative virtual record! Please help us...

Before "Fame"

The Burgess Shale by Charles Knight.

This is the first popular reconstruction of the Burgess Shale environment by none other then Palaeo-Art legend Charles Knight. This painting and the ideas it manifests are a central argument in Gould's book Wonderful Life, and I can't recommend reading it enough (especially this month!).

Interestingly despite the fact that no Anomalocaris is clearly visible there are arguably 3 of them in there. Up until the 1970's Anomalocaris was not recognized as the large mega predator it is today. Various disarticulated bits and pieces of it had been found and misidentified as other types of animals. In this picture you see its arm reconstructed as the strange purple shrimp in the upper left hand corner and its mouth as 2 jellyfish in the top right.

The First Iconic Image

This is the first correct popular rendition of an Anomalocaridid to circulate. As it was the first such picture of the entire bizarre creature together, it has been very influential on many of the reconstructions that were to follow.

Drawn by Marianne Collins for Gould's Wonderful Life, the only major flaw with it is despite being labelled as an Anomalocaris, this is a different genus of Anomalocaridid called Laggania. It was an innocent enough mistake at the time, and neither Collins or Gould should be held accountable for it. Laggania was only recognized as a seperate animal many years after Gould's book.

However sadly this mistake has been carried on in recreations ever since (especially on the internet) mistakenly labelling Laggania as Anomalocaris. A simple correction in current reprints of Gould's book would do wonders to fix this. That and our gallery could be a first step to trying to spread the word on this mix up.


A very rare Anomalocaridid from the Burgess Shale, British Columbia Canada. Only one or two specimens have been thus far been discovered.

It is quite unique among Anomalocaridids due to its triangular head shape and lack of tail fans.

Also compared to others in the group Laggania had very short arm tentacles lined with very long bristle like spines. These are thought to have been used for passive filtration feeding on very tiny creatures, as opposed to traditional active predator of larger prey normally associated with Anomalocaridids. Supporting the more passive feeding strategy Laggania's eyes are set much further back on the head then other Anomalocarids. It has been compared to the baleen whale of the Cambrian.

A close up on Laggania from the famous Burgess Shale reconstruction in Time Magazine by John Sibbick. Based heavily on the era of Gould's popularization of the Shale, this Laggania is incorrectly labelled Anomalocaris, and here depictacted being an active predator. Which is most likely incorrect, but again forgivable at the time of the pieces creation as it was thought to simply be a variant of Anomalocaris.

Lagginia by Karren Carr
Laggania by an Unknown Artist, but this is unacceptable. They deserve credit for this great piece of work. If you know the artist behind this piece please email us at

Underside of Laggania by Sam Gon

Side Profile of Laggania by Sam Gon

A comparison of the head structures and anatomy of Laggania (on the left) to Anomalocaris (on the right) by Marianne Collins


The most iconic and famous of the Anomalocaridids. Found not only in Canada at the Burgess Shale but also in China, America, and Australia. Making it the most widespread and common of Anomalocaridids so far found.

Different species occur in these different regions. The most pronounced differences between those so far described being the Chinese Anomalocaris saron having 2 pronounced thread like tail fins where the Canadian species Anomalocaris canadensis did not.

Anomalocaris canadensis by Yukio Sato. Cover of Simon Conway Morris' book
The Crucible of Creation, his counter to Gould's book Wonderful Life. Though I personal disagree with Morris' ideas, his cover art is second to none.

Anomalocaris canadensis by an Unknown Artist, but this is unacceptable. They deserve credit for this great piece of work. If you know the artist behind this piece please email us at

Anomalocaris canadensis by Sam Gon .

Anomalocaris canadensis by an Unknown Artist, but this is unacceptable. They deserve credit for this great piece of work. If you know the artist behind this piece please email us at

Anomalocaris canadensis by Nuko

Anomalocaris canadensis by an Unknown Artist, but this is unacceptable. They deserve credit for this great piece of work. If you know the artist behind this piece please email us at

Anomalocaris canadensis by an Unknown Artist, but this is unacceptable. They deserve credit for this great piece of work. If you know the artist behind this piece please email us at

Anomalocaris canadensis by Sam Gon .

An Anomalocaris canadensis menaces the Burgess Shale by uncredited artist at . They deserve credit for this great piece of work. If you know the artist behind this piece please email us at

Burgess Shale ecosystem by an Unknown Artist, but this is unacceptable. They deserve credit for this great piece of work. If you know the artist behind this piece please email us at

With an Anomalocaris canadensis about to menace its small contemporaries.

You'll also note how the far Anomalocaris is depicted here having proper body segments, where the majority of the other restorations in this post lack these. This is an interesting topic, and one I plan on touching upon in another post soon.

This image of the Anomalocaris overshadowing the rest of life in the Cambrian was so strong it was recreated in Anomalocaris' only Television appearance...

Anomalocaris saron by Impossible Pictures from Walking with Prehistoric Monsters.

Anomalocaris saron by uncredited artist at Unknown Artist, but this is unacceptable. They deserve credit for this great piece of work. If you know the artist behind this piece please email us at

Note the Chinese species tail fins in the following pictures versus the lacking Canadian species in the previous pictures.

Anomalocaris saron by Craig Dylke, which is yes me. I do not include my own piece out of ego, but due to the fact it (or an alternate version) appear within the first 1-5 pages of google image searches using the terms "Anomalocaris", "Burgess Shale Anomalocaris", or "Anomalocaris Burgess Shale".

Anomalocaris saron by Impossible Pictures

Anomalocaris saron by Impossible Pictures

Anomalocaris saron by Sam Gon .


The most recently described (but not technically discovered) Anomalocaridid. Though first recognized from a complete specimen from the Burgess Shale, incomplete specimens of this genus are known from the United States, China, and Europe.

The most remarkable and unique feature of this genus is the giant spiked hollow shell on the front of the head. Otherwise the head configuration behind this shell was very similar to Anomalocaris, though Hurdia's tentacles were slightly reduced, and it is believed this genus was a scavenger or hunted weaker prey then Anomalocaris.

Hurdia by Marianne Collins


A rather small Anomalocaridid, compared to its relatives, but was still quite large for a Cambrian animal. Amplectobelua is so far only known from the Maotianshan Shale (often referred to incorrectly as the Chengjiang Shale) of China.

Amplectobelua is for all intents and purposes a compact version of Anomalocaris saron, most notable for restorations sake smaller arms and body.

Amplectobelua by uncredited artist at Unknown Artist, but this is unacceptable. They deserve credit for this great piece of work. If you know the artist behind this piece please email us at

Amplectobelua by Sam Gon

Amplectobelua by Sam Gon

Amplectobelua by Sam Gon


One of the strangest Anomalocaridids by far, if it was a true Anomalocaridid. Animals such as Parapeytoia and Kerygmachela (the next animal included in this post) challenge the defination of the Anomalocaridids (which has not been updated since the recognition of Anomalocaris in 1985) and require workers in the field to come up with a more precise and definable criteria for the group.

Calling into question just how closely related Parapeytoia was to the Anomalocaridids, was the fact it had legs underneath the traditional Anomalocaridid fin lobes. Additionally its feeding tentacles branched off into 4 spikes (very similar to the strange yet-not Anomalocarid arthopod Yohoia).

Parapeytoia by Sam Gon

Parapeytoia by Sam Gon

Parapeytoia by Sam Gon

Parapeytoia by an Unknown Artist, but this is unacceptable. They deserve credit for this great piece of work. If you know the artist behind this piece please email us at


Another uncertain relative of the Anomalocaridids. Despite being blind, having much finer tentacles arms, and its ring like mouth in the front of the face as opposed to below it Kerygmachela shares a huge number of anatomical similarities to the Anomalocaridids. It is from the unique Cambrian era Sirius Passet Lagerst├Ątte of Greenland.

Kerygmachela by Sam Gon

Kerygmachela by Sam Gon

A HUGE discovery this year (which is saying something considering some of the fossils described in 2009), Schinderhannes was an Anomalocaridid from the Devonian! Up until this genus the group had only been known from the Cambrian. This extended their reign for an impressive 100 million years. It has seriously challenged the Anomalocaridid's place in the Arthropod family tree and calls into question the theory Stephen J. Gould presents Anomalocaris as the linch-pin for in Wonderful Life (but again it is very much worth the read!).
For an Anomalocaridid Schinderhannes had very large eyes, small feeding tentacles, and a pair of strange ridgid fins behind the head. Additionally its fin lobes were underneath the body as opposed to sticking out the sides.

The pictures that accompanied the formal paper, with a restoration by an Unknown Artist, but this is unacceptable. They deserve credit for this great piece of work. If you know the artist behind this piece please email us at

Random Pictures

Not all the pictures I encountered were of, shall we say, scientific quality, but I thought warranted some attention. Afterall here at ART Evolved we're not just about scientific accuracy.

Interesting head configuration Anomalocarid by an Unknown Artist, but this is unacceptable. They deserve credit for this great piece of work. If you know the artist behind this piece please email us at

Anomalocaris by Ray Troll


Lastly for those of you who like to reference the remains of the animals themselves here are some snap shots of various specimens I stole off Sam Gon's website.
Anomalocaris canadensis.

Pay attention to this specimen's "neck" closely. I'll be doing a post on how this fossil seems to counter nearly every restoration of Anomalocaris seen in this post.

Anomalocaris canadensis

Anomalocaris canadensis

Anomalocaris canadensis


Christopher said...

Parapeytoia is not an anomalacarid, its a "great appendage arthropod." See the relevant page at Sam Gon's Website:

Weapon of Mass Imagination said...


Yes it is a little blurry, and no Parapeytoia is not technically an Anomalocaridid at moment. Which I think you'll find I noted in the post.

However based on all the readings I've done, there is no current concensus on what an Anomalocaridid actually is or how to define them as a group. If I am mistaken I'd love to find out what the new view on the group is.

I've decided to include Parapeytoia in this post as:

1. it gives people one more option for their art pieces

2. some authors state is can't be ruled out that Parapeytoia might end up being an Anomalocaridid. It just depends on how the group ends up being defined (by this logic there is a slim possibility all the "great appendage" arthropods end up clustered together).

I have read Sam Gon's site (you'll notice I've grabbed, with citations, his great techincal drawings) he himself quotes this uncertainty in the very beginning of the Parapeytoia section by saying:

"This page features images of the fossils and reconstructions of two unusual species that some consider anomalocaridids, including Opabinia regalis, considered by some a close relative of anomalocaridids, and by others as a full member of the anomalocarid clade."

So the website you're directing me to supports the exact statment I made in the post (as he was one of the sites I was quoting)

I've grabbed a few samples of Gon's hesitations towards Parapeytoia being an Anomalo, and put them here so people don't have to leave the comments to read them.

"These features seem to point clearly to arthropod affinities, and may suggest that this is a megacheiran, rather than an anomalocaridid (or point to affinities between those two "great appendages" groups)."

"the anterior appendages is not consistent with any other anomalocarid species (though the backward-facing mouth woud be consistent with that of Opabinia)."

Totally reasonable, and I personally think it'll be cut out of the Anomalocaridids in the end. However at moment there is no official stance on this.

As great as Gon's commentaries are, to me they are not proof of anything. These comments are lacking citations. What paper did he publish or grab these from? Even more important did this paper come to the conclusion Parapeytoia wasn't an Anomalocaridid, or has he simply taken a description and compared it himself to other "Anomalocaridids".

The fact he disclaims all this before hand with, as I've already noted, many workers still believing it to could be in the group to me shows his "conclusions" are just his opinions.

Which I took into consideration when writing this post. I believe you'll find with this in mind, I'm still justified in stating Parapeytoia may or may not be an Anomalocarid.

Peter Bond said...

Craig, dude! What a post, good work. Most of this info is new to me and you found tons of great art. Very helpful.

Glendon Mellow said...

I'm gonna play a bit of a devil's advocate here. I considered doing this via email to AE members, I also considered a separate blog post.

But I'll raise the issue here. I raise these issues here instead of our members' emails becase they affect the non-member contributors as well. I am trying to raise consciousness about this issue.

Everytime I see "artist unknown" here on Art Evolved, it makes me angry. Right now, a major U.S. bill has been in play that threatens all artists' work online to become "fair use" everytime a large or small corporation says they cannot find the artwork's creator. It's called Orphan Works and I think it stinks. Basically due to poor wording, anyone's artwork could be pressed into service in say, an ad for shoes or sodapop, and so long as the company says they reasonably tried to find the artist responsible -and say they couldn't - it becomes an "orphan" piece of art.

This sucks. Illustrators and artists would have to take big companies to court over right to profit from their own creations.

And here we are, a group of bright enthusiastic artists trying to make it, and we repeatedly have work up with "artist unknown".

Should we keep doing this? Have we emailed the sites where the images were found? Should we refrain from posting images with unknown provenence?

How would any of us react to our work appearing with no attribution on another site?

Nima said...

That's a very interesting point Glendon. I do see a TON of "artist unknown" works on this post (one of them, in any case, is John Sibbick) and I notice there are a lot of images for each species.

No offense to Craig, but I think the few whose artists ARE known in his post are more than enough inspiration for us to draw good anomalocarids. After all, part of this stuff is about doing our own research. It would also help us avoid extremely long posts (something I myself have been guilty of, but so far only on my own blog).

As for orphan works... yeah it sucks, but technically they are only "orphan" if the name of the artist can't be found with them. So somebody would have to pirate your work to begin with in order for someone else to legally use it under the "orphan works" law. The problem, of course, is that someone that you authorize to use your work can simply omit your name so that their friends can use it for profit. Truly slimy, but that's why we have to be careful who we authorize.

I personally ALWAYS do an exhaustive search to find the author of a work, or at least their online nickname, and if I can't, then I venture a guess as to who the artist might be based on the style. Better than not giving credit at all. If I have no clue whatsoever, I usually find a better image with a known artist (which usually isn't hard) or I just don't post it at all.

If someone posts it just for a blog without giving credit, I'd just politely claim credit and ask them to either mention my name or take the image down.

Now if any of our work was pirated FOR PROFIT under the "orphan works" act (in which case there might be more than one pirate at work), then all of us ArtEvolved Crew members should fight them tooth and nail. Contact their web hosting company, notify them they are hosting a criminal site, track and report their IP address if possible, and bombard the guestbook and email address of the offender with angry emails from a variety of extra addresses. Overload their mailbox at midnight by the thousands. Make them famous on the blogosphere. Leave strings of flames on their blogs as well. We should build a network to stop piracy of paleo-art. I'd even consider hacking if that wasn't already illegal itself. Of course, without doing anything illegal, we should let the offender know that all we want is for the work to be removed from their site/online store/etc.

As for suing for copyright infringement, you'd better have your art under a REGISTERED copyright (costs about $30 online in the USA, and you can register multiple works at once with one fee). If your don't do this, no lawyer will take your case. I personally know a neo-impressionist artist whose work was pirated and actually sold as prints in a different state under someone else's name - but he's screwed because he never registered copyright.

Weapon of Mass Imagination said...


Here is my rational for including pieces of art for which I do not know the artist.

By using this art, in theory I have committed art theft. At the same time unlike 95% of the other websites you'll find these same pieces stolen on, ART Evolved has included an attempted credit. To me this actively acknowledging that a credit is needed, and is the best way to raise awareness crediting issues.

If we were to take a stance of not using a piece due to a lack of known artist, we would definately have the moral high ground, but that is it. Such philosophic stances do not confront issues like this at all, and if we want to effect positive change I feel it is important to operate like other sites, but show these other sites where they have made mistakes.

Especially as we have had success filling these empty credits with input from visitors to our site. I'd like to thank James Robins in particular, as he has alerted me to artists on both this post and the Synapsid tribute as well.

I will follow up this comment in a few minutes (need to grab lunch... I've spent an hour in word trying to write this response LOL) with my quest to try and futilely track down artists.

For the record I spent at least 3-4 hours looking for credits on many of these pieces (delaying this post by 2 days!).

Weapon of Mass Imagination said...


Hey sorry, didn't mean to blank your comment. You sent it inbetween me logging on and posting my comment, so it didn't "exist" when I responded to Glendon's, if you follow me.

First off if you could direct me to the John Sibbick piece so I can attach credit... assuming it is not the Time Magazine picture, to which someone already beat you to it :P

Which is a key point of these "Unknown Artist" credits I put on the pictures. Unknown Artist is just a place holder. When I get an email or comment (pretty much just been emails so far) alerting me to a piece's creator I add it immedidately.

Now as for these posts not needing to be as big due to us doing our own research, I follow what you're saying, BUT point out and disagree by stating that these summary posts are not meant for us keeners.

The hope is we got casual participants interested and participating in our galleries as well. To do this they need to be informed on a subject, and Anomalocaridids aren't exactly a household name.

By gathering together a comprehensive collection of references, I personally feel, this encourages some to make art that they might not otherwise to do so as everything they need is in one place. Their initial research is done for them.

Admittedly with Art Evolved still being a young entity, this hasn't happened as much as I'd like, but if we don't facilitate it it won't happen either.

As for the copyright fees that might be an interest project to organize for this site. A fund to get all entries from a gallery copyrighted might be something worth looking into (merchandising a Calender of similar item). I merely mention this as outloud thinking, mind you, but something worth thinking about.

Glendon Mellow said...

Nima - you are in the States I believe?

Here in Canada, copyright is automatically legally bestowed after you complete a piece. No registration necessary, legal action is possible with registration. Registration is something the American Orphan Works is seeking to foist upon anyone. The internet muddies the waters a bit - if my image was made here, but on an American server then --? Laws have not all caught up. I'd urge everyone to read up on the link I provided above. Especially Americans since the rest of us cannot vote or pressure your congresspeople about it.

Craig - I know I sounded all ranty, and excuse me. I do know you well enough to know you tried to find attribution. And your point about others coming to the rescue with knowledge of artists is an excellent one - perhaps a small note in each post like this one, asking our readers for some help? Excellent point.

I am truly open to discussion on these matters. And it needs to be discussed as you point out.

Weapon of Mass Imagination said...

Glendon- No worries dude, I know it not meant as an attack.

As I’ve typed this out already I’ll include to illustrate the problem of finding artists of illustrations.

So again, I delayed this post by 2 days in an attempt to find the artists of pieces I found on the web. Of these searches I was only successful once...

The worst part is most of the pieces I spent huge amounts of time looking for were from books or magazines. You'd think the artists would be easier to track down for published works, right?

Turns out they're just as hard to find as any other picture (sadly one can see how people were able to argue why the Orphan Act isn’t just a way for corporations to steal from the little guy…).

As these were books I took several approaches.

The only one I felt that wasn’t a slight to the artists in question was my looking at reviews of these books. It would be nice of the reviewer would take time to mention the name of the nice art, but typically their more considered with the words in the book (and as most science books are NOT picture books, the illustrations are secondary). I also do not hold Amazon in disrespect for a reference to illustrators’ names, they are just an oline store.

However everywhere else I looked raised some SERIOUS concerns on how artists get treated!

Book publishing companies have incredible poor records and advertisements for their publications. This is would be a great place to highlight all the contributing artists and illustrators. Most barely cover who the author was!

Academics and Professors. For people who are all about citing work in their formal publications and presentations, they are atrocious at acknowledging where they got pictures from in their class lecture notes and slideshows. You’d think if they are going to post these so that they are accessible from the internet they’d put some credits in there. I acquired about 6 of this posts images from such University Professor’s material meant for a class they were teaching.

The United States Library of Congress. Being one of the world's definitive records on published works they have to be one of the worst (plus the other two library systems I ended up on during my search… but the Library of Congress as the big fish takes the majority of my wraith!) In its citations for individual books the Library includes a category called “illustration”, however this only lists whether a book HAS illustrations or not. There is no credit for who drew the pictures on books with a “Illustrated” in the Illustration book! With all the other information included on the book, why couldn’t they put in the artists’ names!?!?!

Google books. For those books for which only a sample has been posted, of the three I checked, all had had their publishing information page cut. Which I had hoped to find the cover art credit for (but this may not have had it anyway!). I got very lucky that for The Crucible of Creation the cover artist was listed on the back cover, which was included in the PFD

The most extensive search I did, and in the end waste of time, was for John Sibbick’s Time Magazine illustration.

I did everything from search the library of congress, Uni Prof’s slideshows with the picture, and to finally tracking down an ONLINE VERSION of the article. The official Time Magazine website cut the credits off the illustrations!!!

Finally after posting the picture, the kind alert from James Robins finally got Mr. Sibbick’s name on the post.

Which to me is part of my rational for posting these Unknown Artists. Hopefully with enough time they’ll all receive the name they rightfully deserve!

Nima said...

Craig - aaaaaagh! Someone beat me to the Sibbick piece, there isn't another one to my knowledge :)

As for the fund idea - I love it. We need to forge closer links so that if one of us gets pirated, the rest will take action immediately. Also, copyrighting the art in calendars is a great idea, but then whose name would it be under? And then there's the issue of copyrighting it in two different countries.

Glendon - yeah, I'm in the states - the bankruptest state of them all in fact (*thanks a bunch Arnold* >_< GRRRRR...) And here you need to register copyright otherwise you can't really sue (I've got friends in Canada, and there's lots of reasons I wish I lived there - here's reason number 1,486).

Here's the thing, there should be international copyright laws covering our art in any case, but then won't those need registration too?

The crazy thing to me is that American artists can't prosecute all the rip-off makers in Russia and places like that, but now even in the US it seems they will be able to get away with it. I've seen Hallett's and Sibbick's work pirated or copied in some form in everything from calendars to to the boxes of "dig your own fossil" kits. Granted they are all cheap Chinese imports, but before too long that could change.

The worst part is that the faceless special interests promoting this bill are sponsoring Ann Coulter-style spokesmen that are openly hateful towards artists and literally put the devil's words in our mouths. And the CEOs of these corps NEVER come out and explain themselves.

There are a few very rich publishing conglomerates in the States that would like nothing better than to replace the cheesy tail-dragging anonymous illustrations in their outdated science textbooks with a bit of Greg Paul or Mark Hallett free of charge, to make the books more attractive to school boards and gouge even more profits out of the deal - a deal in which the artist is never even contacted.

These greedy publishers are attempting to turn the US into a third world nation with NO protections for intellectual property (except of course where the cash-gobbling music recording industry is concerned!)

Thanks' Glendon, for pointing this out to everyone here. I pray that president Obama shoots down this illegal and unconstitutional bill.

Glendon Mellow said...

Nima, my point is you don't actually have to register something for it to be under copyright. It's your property after you create it. Period.

By putting things online, of course we all expose ourselves to people reproducing our work elsewhere. And that's fine. That's why we have the Creative Commons Licence up there. We have the most restrictive licence, the on that states our artwork may be reproduced, emailed, blogged, whatever, so long as 1) it's not altered in any way, 2)No money is made from reproducing the image without author permission and 3) reproductions of the image must always be attributed to the image's author.

Does that mean there is no band anywhere on Earth that photocopied Karoo Sunset or the Jazz Hands dimorphodon for their local flyers? We don't know. But we could reasonably lay claim to stopping it, as you can see in this example.

Glendon Mellow said...

Craig your point about regaining attribution to unknown works from our members and viewers is a good one. A very good point.

I don't know I'm totally swayed its better than leaving the images off our site though. Yet.

How do other members and viewers feel?

Sean Craven said...

This is a fascinating -- and for a fledgling artist, both intimidating and infuriating -- subject.

I don't feel as though I really understand the situation thoroughly enough to render any judgment.

But for the sake of provoking thought, if I were making the decision based upon my limited knowledge of both the laws in question and netiquette (not to mention my tendency to be overly-polite and tentative), here's what I'd do.

I would only post images after getting permission from the artist, or if they had a posted Creative
Commons license, in which case I would inform them via email as I posted their images.

In addition, I would mention books and websites with uncredited images -- and if possible, include contact information so that readers and artists could request attribution, in addition to making that request myself.

And then I'd abandon the blog after a while because it was too much work.

Peter Bond said...

I wish there was an easier way of tracking down artists on the net. Now, like those of us online, it is usually quite simple to search for us. But the problem is those artists without an online presence - no website, online gallery, blog, deviantart page... It is difficult enough to track down their existence let alone their email to ask permission!

I spent an hour yesterday trying to find anything online about Marianne Collins, whose art is so meaningful for the next gallery. I like her stile and would love to see other pieces by her. But I could find nothing. And she is kind-of well-known in the palaeo-art circles! I can only fathom at the less well-known talents who created some of the fantastic "unknown" art in the post. Who are they?

Makes my brain explode.

Weapon of Mass Imagination said...

LOL I thought my upcoming posts about Anomalocaridid were going to generate discussion... Who knew just putting up some pictures of them would make things explode? LOL

To try and convince you Glendon, that my getting names attached arguement is good. I write my (hopefully) conclusive finale to my rationale.

Every single picture in this post was acquired off the web (inlcuding my own piece... which is why I grabbed it, it was right there) meaning the copyright infringment had already occurred on the unknown pieces.

So with this in mind, in the worst case for (the few) pictures only up on one site, we are doubling this infringement. So that is at most a 50% increase in the pirating, yes?

Yet if I were to take down these pieces from our site, this wouldn't stop the problem. It would only reduce the incidence of this piracy by at MOST half. They are still up at the sites I originally got them from.

However with the majority of pieces they had been put up on multiple sites, and all still uncredited. Meaning our putting it up increased the problem by well under half. Again our taking it down doesn't have much of an impact on that pictures pirated status.

If I were scanning or digitizing that would of course be different, but the two times I've done this I credited the pieces.

Okay so ART Evolved has now joined in the piracy, but with one very key difference. We are actively trying give credit to all of the art.

As of today I can report we're already meeting with some success crediting previously uncredited works!

Since this post went up 2 days ago we have now credited 4 previously uncredited artists... Not bad for a few days I'd argue!

Now where I think all of this becomes powerful is that with all these pictures gathered in one place we're likely to become a top hit on image searches for Anomalocaridids. Thus people looking for these pictures will encounter our post and our crediting insistence!

Sure it will probably not impact everyone, but if even 1 out 100 visitors catches on that these credits are important, then we're doing something useful.

to be continued...

Weapon of Mass Imagination said...

The Continuation

On the other hand if we shy away from uncredited art, we don't address the issue in a public fashion. Our refusual to use the picture doesn't actually stop the abuse. The artist simply goes completely unacknowledged. Yes we can claim we aren't part of the problem at all, but I don't see that being useful in stopping the abuse. I argue we'd just be passively aggresively encouraging it.

I will also applogize if I'm a little opinionated on "protesting" tactics. Back when I was younger I got heavily involved with an environmental protest group that quickly frustrated me due to its not thinking through how they were engaging the issues at hand. I'm not saying your not thinking things through Glendon... its just I've had lots of time to stew and come up with entrenched preconceptions on this sort of thing (Which probably makes me totally wrong ;p ).

They opted towards boycotts on every subject and problem, but this only works in cases where your use or participation directly contributes to the problem. The use of fossil fuels for example, the more that gets used the more greenhouse gases get directly produced... It is a 1 for 1 ration. Yes in that case it is important not to contribute.

In my opninion these uncredited pictures off the web aren't the same. It is not a 1:1 scale when we use these pictures as well.

The picture has been already pirated, to me the harm had been done. Our using it now is only a tiny continuation and expansion of the problem. Not an equally proportional wrong, and combined with this lesser impact we're taking steps to correct part of the wrong.

On many issues I feel you have to take a more moderate grey scale stance. Black and white views only polarize and divide people, and usually allow the wrong to be carried out with no real opposition (just passive token opposition... which doesn't do anything). It you get your hands a little dirty it is all the better to fling mud when it comes time (can you tell I'm a Poli-Sci student :P )

In conclusion I think combining Sean and Peter's end lines summarizes it so well:

"...I'd abandon the blog after a while because it was too much work" [then] "my brain explode[d]."

hehehehe I sort of joke, but it is quite big stuff for our little Dinosaur drawing blog to consider...


Yes admittedly my "solution" has a huge flaw. The artists permission.

I counter this though by stating again I'm not the first one to put this up on the web. If they have allowed it to be up for this long that is their problem.

More to the point if they approach this site the art WILL BE removed immediately at their request!

I am not willing to spend huge amounts of time trying to track them down to ask (in line with Peter's quest to contact Marianne Collins). If someone else feel that strongly about this component, I'd happily appoint you ART Evolved's official "artist ambassador" and let you track artists down and ask for their permission.

I personally don't really have the time or energy to track them down. As again we are not the only site using any of these pictures. (we also are making no money off of them either)

Glendon Mellow said...

Peter, Craig: I know you guys, I know you from your writing, our chats online and I believe you tried.

"Artist ambassador", huh?! Do I get a sash? Hahahahaha...well, seriously I wouldn't take on the job of tracking down art other people post though. It's not my responsibility to become the intertube image police for other people's posts.

Craig, the changes you've made today are starting to make a believer out of me.

I may not put un-citable work up on The Flying Trilobite, but I love how you've fixed it up here.

Rachael said...

I think the American 'fair use' law only applies to work that is not being used for profit? It is 'fair use' if the work is being used for educational purposes only.

As ARTEvolved is an educational site I cant see that we are commiting any offence by using material without consent- especially as credit to the artist is always sought.

Most artists that do not want their work copied either block the ability to do this or include the copyright logo across their work.

Dinorider d'Andoandor said...

Rachael is right

so let's fill in the blanks!

Dinorider d'Andoandor said...

cool gallery of course!, this is a great post, man!

Raptor Lewis said...

Craig- Nice job on your explanation! You made an excellent point on works cited. I find you to be an extremely knowledgeable and credible teacher. In this case you can understand why I stand behind you.

Glendon- That's an outrage! I'm an artist and that means that bill affects me!! That isn't fair!! Thank you for letting me know about it!!

Anywho, I can't wait for that Anomalocaridid gallery!!

Weapon of Mass Imagination said...

Ian sent me this comment via email (he was unable to get it to post here for some reason... I'll look into that):

"anomalocaris did have at least one television appearance prior to the 'walking with' series. there was a series called "planet of life" on the discovery channel in the mid 90's which featured a computer generated anomalocaris as well as a model with an articulated mouth built to see if the bite marks it left on trilobites would match those found in many fossil trilobites.
i can't find the series listed on imdb or amazon, youtube has the episode but it's dubbed in german.
this clip:

starts with the trilobite biting experiment and the articulated model swimming in a pool, and about 2 1/2 minutes in you can see the computer animation. the fourth picture of anomalocaris in your post, the one where it's eating a trilobite, looks like it was a still frame from this show with the background cut out."

Thanks for that Ian. I'll try to track down the effects people who created this guy and add them to the posts credits.