Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Sauropod Gallery

Welcome to yet another of Life's Time Capsules, this time it is...

Sauropods the largest animals that ever lived on land. They may also have had in their ranks the longest creatures to have evolved!
They are among the most famous of Dinosaurs, and despite being strictly plant eaters themselves were the close relatives of the meat eating Dinosaurs! Evolving relatively early in the history of Dinosaurs, the Sauropods would endure till the end of the Mesozoic making them one of the most successful Dinosaur groups of all. They came in all shapes and sizes, and lived on every continent.
So join us now to this effort to bring this giants of the past back to life in art form...
[If you are still working on a piece, it is not too late! We have just discovered an html trick that negates our previous formatting issue with uploading new pictures. So we will add them as they come in]
[To all our contributors, we apologize in advance if any small formatting issues surrounding your specific piece. Due to the sheer number of entries into this gallery we have been scrambling to get this gallery posted in time. If there are any errors or text omissions from your piece please just let us know in the comment section or via an email to and we will fix it as soon as we can!]

Diplodocus by David Maas

First off, this is a hopeless w.i.p. - so much to do (scales, normal map, artefact removal, illustration in scene)! Just didn't want to miss out. I laid out my diplodocus inspired by Nima. (Yes, I know this is cheating.) Anyway, that's a 2m measure there in black and white.
I thought I'd list some of the assumptions I've integrated into this guy, and some of the questions that have come up during the artEvolved challenge:
- the scutes at the tail are inspired by the whip-crack communication theory, just instead of whipping (and possibly breaking) the tail, it whistles. Also gets in the face of predators.
- neck posture... not quite as extreme as MarkWitton's, but I think this would be a standard position... could go higher
- gait; I think this would be about the extreme gait. Tried to base this with trackway images, but didn't have enough time to be very diligent about it.
- teeth/lips/cheek; I tried to create a bite that would shear while closed while respecting that weird skeleton. 3D is really helpful here because it keeps you from cheating. Rotation point respects (I hope) the skull reference
- nasal; I just followed the latest research here... tried to artistically make it look plausible but have no idea really.
- coloring; even though this is a quick hack, I want a largely monotonous coloring with just a hint of patterns from earlier, smaller times. This is too brownish. I'll make it more grey in the next version

Long Neck Sauropod by Lisa Bond

Berlin Giraffatitan by Peter Bond
This is an pen-and-ink reconstruction based on this photo, of the new Berlin Museum für Naturkunde Giraffatitan mount (previously Brachiosaurus). This beast held a special place in my heart when I visited it in 2002. Now, I have to go back and see the new updated mount.

Euhelopus' bust by Luis Perez

Brachiosaur Parade by Nima Sassani

Fourteen brachiosaurs with the largest known T. rex for scale. From left to right: Volkheimeria, Lapparentosaurus, Daanosaurus, Bothriospondylus, Lusotitan, Brachiosaurus (Giraffatitan) brancai, "the Archbishop", Pelorosaurus, Pleurocoelus, Cedarosaurus, Sonorasaurus, Sauropodeidon, Breviparopus, Europasaurus.

Cetiosaurus oxonienis - Gouache - A3 by Rachael Revelle

Cetiosaur herds roamed the mudflats of Oxfordshire in England in the late Jurassic. Strange to think of these 18 metre long creatures wandering an area now covered in equally majestic academic architecture.

A Nightmare Before Sauropods by Marek Eby

Argentinosaurus huinculensis by Mo Hassam

Bonaparte & Coria, 1993. Family incertae sedis; most likely a titanosaur. Visit The Disillusioned Taxonomist to see many more Sauropods.

Argyrosaurus by Nima Sassani

Argyrosaurus superbus - finally after over a century since its discovery, this is the first and ONLY hi-fi restoration of this giant sauropod, one of seven known colossal titanosaur species in the 100-foot range. Shown with forelimb scaled up slightly from crushed holotype, blue-shaded bones represent missing material.

The Brontosaurus from King Kong by Brian Blacknick

Patagosaurus fariasi by Luis Perez

Mamenchisaurus Origami by Jared Needle

Clash of the Titans by Craig Dylke
A pair of Giraffatitan adults squabble amongst their herd.
In this piece I am trying show a brief snapshot of Sauropod behaviour that is rarely depicted. Typically Sauropods are shown as gentle giants, but I don't believe they would have been in reality.
For starters they are so close to Theropods in lineage, the two no doubt shared some inherent instincts. We know Theropods often fought with each other in social settings, why not Sauropods too? More importantly Sauropods had such a small brain size compared to their body mass, I find it unlikely they had the mental capacity for complex social behaviour that would displace violence as an efficient conflict resolver.
Granted at the same time I'm not suggesting they were not constantly trying to kill each other. Simply there was likely little more fire and passion to them then the lumbering docile titans we often picture them as...

Efraasia minor by Luis Perez

Brachiosaurus by Teddy Cookswell

Antarctosaurus by Luis Perez

Brontosaurus by Bryan Baugh

Diplodocus by Bruce Earl

Mamenchiosaurus by Sergio Perez

I've decided to color the tail club aposematically, because that way, it could be used to warn predators of the danger, and also be used for intraspecific communication.

Amargasaurus on Rainy Beach by Bryan Baugh

Apatosaurus louisae by Sean Craven

Erketu ellisoni by Luis Perez

Sauropod vs Theropod by Brad Mcfeeters

Late Middle Jurassic of China: A Scansoriopteryx is in danger of being swallowed by a hungry Omeisaurus. I've had the idea to draw something like this for years, but I just now got around to doing it.

Hudiesaurus by Nima Sassani
The gigantic mamenchisaur Hudiesaurus sinojapanorum - mother and teenager. Work still in progress.

Barosaurus vs Allosaurus in the Rain by Peter Bond

Inspired by the incredible mount at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, I decided to recreate it, giving it a touch of lovely Vancouver weather. A barosaur is rearing up to protect it's baby from a menacing allosaur. This piece was created live on Bond's Blog during the ART Evolved liveblogging challenge.

Astrodon johnstoni by Luis Perez

Camarasaurus Head - Gouache - A4 by Rachael Revelle

Created during ARTevolved's live blog weekend and my first experience for many years of having to work in a very short time span at a constant rate. Not easy, but a useful exercise in discipline and motivation. The work can be seen in it's progressive stages at

Jobaria tiguidensis by Mo Hassan

Sereno et al., 1999. Family incertae sedis, Eusauropoda

Giraffatitan by Sergio Perez

I've decided to be conservative with the neck elevation. Personally, I think the neck was maintained in al pa horizontosture mainly, but the elevation was indeed in its range of motion, so, let's go with a 45º neck this time.

Spinophorosaurus by Zachary Miller

Turiasaurus riodevensis by Luis Perez

Puertasaurus by Nima Sassani

Puertasaurus reuili: the first hi-fi restoration ever done of the NEW "biggest" dinosaur. It likely exceeds Argentinosaurus in both length and mass. Triple axial view, all published fossil material is re-figured fully restored and uncrushed.

Jobaria by Sergio Perez

Brachytrachelopan by Zachary Miller

Europasaurus holgeri by David Tana

Europasaurus holgeri, a derived, island dwelling, dwarf macronarian from the Late Jurassic of Germany. Pen and color pencil on paper

With that we come to the end of yet another Time Capsule...

In just over a month's time, on January. 7th 2010 we launch our next gallery on Palaeo-Environments. The details are here, but this is a nearly free for all gallery and will be accepting nearly any palaeo-art content you send.
Please send those submissions to (with any desired accompanying text blurb and your website or blog's link), and see you back hopefully no later then just after the New Year...


davidmaas said...

Wow! Congratulations everyone!
If I may say so, I feel Nima has cleaned up in the reconstruction category. (Love those voluminous bodies). Lots of contenders for scenic...
I hope to finish mine still and will post at least a link when I do so, many factors have contributed to me not managing the deadline. Sigh.

Glendon Mellow said...

Gorgeous Gallery!

Marek, that's amazing. I love the moon, and the lines on the sauropod bodies. Bang on, man.

What is it about this group of dinosaurs that lends itself to humour?

Some of the sober ones really stand out as well.

Craig, your composition in Clash of the Titans is simply excellent. I love how you've used the necks to lead the eye around the image.

Stunning, everyone!

Nima said...

Thanks David! I was actually planning to do many more reconstructions of those voluminous titanosaurs... But time was scarce!

I still have an Argentinosaurus in the works, and the following are also slated for reconstruction:

Rapetosaurus (Mark Hallet will not have the final word on that one!)

Needless to say there will be a lot of fun guesswork involved with some of these...

And maybe a few non-titanosaurs as well - Euhelopus and Erketu - and some more primitive ones like Spinophorosaurus. I want to get a morisson scene with AMphicoelias done, and I'm already halfway on another morrison scene with Brachiosaurus and Haplocanthosaurus.

So yeah. It ain't over till the fat titanosaur bellows.

Albertonykus said...

There are some true masetrpieces in this one. Clash of the Titans, Brachiosaur Parade, and Sauropod VS Theropod pieces are my favorites, but they're all great!

Naraoia said...

Sauropod vs. Theropod is brilliant.

Mo Hassan said...

What an amazing bunch of freaks!! We rock!

Zachary said...

Wow, what a gallery! Good job, everybody. I'm going to have to pour over these when I have more time...I still have a few pieces to send in, too. Just gotta find the time to finish them!

Raptor Lewis said...

Sorry I didn't have mine in time, though I think mine's an embarrassment compared to y'all's!! :) Great Job, guys!!

Dinorider d'Andoandor said...

Well done guys! good quality as ever... I liked seeing brachis in a more not-that-cute fashion! They were big beasts, why not using that to impress a rival?

Nima, your Puertasaurus made me feel soooooooo tiny!

Peter Bond said...

A few late entries have been added to the top of the page! Check 'em out!

A truly Awesome Gallery, ladies and gentlemen. Great work!

Raptor Lewis said...

I should have mine in tomorrow or Friday at the latest....though I'd hate to make promises like this with my record. ;P And, those who follow my blog know, isn't very good. lol! ;P

davidmaas said...

I wanted to add:

- compared to Nima's schematics in particular, its interesting to compare leg position and body volume. Nima's are wider apart. I'm going from experience as a creature animator, trying to get the legs towards center-of-gravity... at least in pose.
Is there any research about this?

- Body volume... love Nima's take. That boxy digestive factory. Mine is more tapered/rounded... I think there must be a gaseous bloated mass there, with a fairly active 'exhaust pipe'... and modeled the form to allow for the (assumed) more narrow leg motions... the shape seen from above just arose from these factors. Any way of approaching probability / feasibility of these two ideas?

@ everyone: I'm inspired to be a part of this gallery! Its very cool to see the various schematic and artistic reconstructions.

Nima said...
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Nima said...

Thanks for all the compliments, David! I am also a fan of the wide-bodied sauropods.

If I understand correctly, you are asking if my sauropods' wider "digestive factory" bodies and wide-spaced legs are accurate to the evidence?

They are in this case, because I drew two titanosaurs: Argyrosaurus and Puertasaurus. And titanosaurs are well known for having very plump bodies, wide ribcages, and wide-gauge legs compared to other sauropods (this is based on both skeletal evidence and footprints).

As for the boxy-ness, I actually tried to keep that to a minimum but I drew several cross-sections in the initial sketches to approximate the shape of the widest ribs. Some of Puertasaurus's boxy look is due to the speculative row of osteoderms I put on it. As for Argyrosaurus I just gave it a deep, flat-sided rib-cage like many brachiosaurs and basal titanosaurs - only wider and bigger. Isisaurus seems to have the same sort of body design, and on the cirscumstantial side, its forelimb proportions are just a very exaggerated version of Argyrosaurus'. (As strange as it seems, Argy's humerus IS a good bit longer than his radius and ulna - and sadly there's not much else of him to compare with other dinosaurs!)

Puertasaurus in particular was probably the fattest of them all, judging by the extreme width of the published dorsal vertebra, especially those huge wing-like zygapophyses - which must have supported a VERY wide rib cage. Even its neck was probably the widest one on record!

Its older relative Futalognkosaurus also was very wide, as indicated by its colossal 8-foot wide sacrum! (I'm guesstimating here; you can see it for yourself on SV-POW)

By contrast, Diplodocids, Camarasaurs, Euhelopodids and even the huge-bodied Brachiosaurs all had much narrower rib cages than Titanosaurs. Some of those titanosaurs practically converged on Ankylosaurs for sheer proportional torso width and dorsal flatness.

Your piece is a Diplodocus, which belongs to a much more slender family that had a much narrower body and leg spacing. So we are both correct, because we illustrated different families of sauropods for our multi-view reconstructions.

Just a little tip though: I did notice that yours is a BIT wide for a Diplodocus. And the massive look it has combined with the longer neck makes it look a bit more like Supersaurus (which was not really wide-gauge, just bigger). BTW, When I look at Scott Hartman's Supersaurus skeletal, I see extremely narrow gauge arms with the thumb claws practically touching. When I look at your Diplodocus I see pretty much the same thing, but the hands are bit too bulky IMO, and they make the thing look wider-gauge than it really is. If it's not the final version, I'd suggest making the body and hands narrower.

davidmaas said...

@Nima... I was under the impression that supersaurus was discovered to be a diplodocus. Just a particularly big one. If not, then... this would be a supersaurus.
/me blinks. And goes off to rename everything. Lots to learn.

about the wide-set legs on titanosaurs: it would be a very interesting task to animate a walk. How did they keep their c-o-g under the planted feet? Will have to try that

Nima said...

<<@Nima... I was under the impression that supersaurus was discovered to be a diplodocus. Just a particularly big one. If not, then... this would be a supersaurus.>>

Actually, that was Seismosaurus. Seismosaurus was recently reclassified as a large diplodocus (though its ischial curve looks very different).

Supersaurus (s. vivinae) is still firmly its own valid species. In fact, it's recently been shown with cladistics that Supersaurus is closer to Apatosaurus than to diplodocus.

As for the titanosaurs- they may have just been fast striders or they kept their feet close to the ground (no crazy lifts and wrist-bends like you see in Greg Paul skeletals...) but of course I and many others violate this ASSUMPTION...

Rachael said...

A massive range of styles in this gallery. I particularly like the illustrative style of Bryan Baugh and his bold use of colour. Strong compostions.

Teddy cookswell and Bryan Baugh have achieved a clever perspective to suggest the vastness of Sauropods.

Good to see some 3D work included. Delicate and skillfull paper sculptures by Jared Needed and Brian Blacknicks nostalgic King Kong scene with the curled lip Brontosaurus. Very clever and adds some humour to the gallery.

Check out Brian Blacknick's blog - it's quite interesting and imformative on how he creates his sculptues.

ScottE said...

Excellent work! (I fail to be fast enough and on top of other workload to participate--rest assured, it wouldn't have been this good anyway.)

Nima said...

Hey Peter, don't mean to disturb, but is it possible to make my images bigger? The originals were huge, so I'm confused why the gallery versions came out so much smaller than everybody else's...

Peter Bond said...

Hey Nima,
Seems that I uploaded the un-enlarged versions from your picassa site. My apologies! I have gone in and grabbed you full-sized images and inputted them into the Sauropod Gallery!

So EVERYONE, click on Nima's four pieces to see all their glorious detail!!!

davidmaas said...

Good to see them in detailed glory. Following the svpow discussion closely: congrats!

davidmaas said...

Well, this about answers everything:

"1. It should be obvious to all right-thinking people that this is the single greatest piece of artwork ever executed by anyone, anywhere, at any time in history. The only way it could ever be improved upon would be if more brachiosaurs were discovered and incorporated into a new draft."
Mike Taylor

I'd say congratulations are in order. :-)

Glendon Mellow said...

Well-deserved and Congratulations, Nima!

It's always great when Art Evolved members are seen out and about.

Nima said...

Thanks David and Glendon!

I'm a bit shocked I actually managed to pull off so many sauropods in time with my busy schedule...

I'm doing more sauropods, and there are several unfinished ones I've not had the chance to finish and post. They'll be on my blog (with lots of progress pics and info) in a week or two :)