Thursday, May 9, 2013

Dino Week - Camarasaurus

Camarasaurus (being hunted by a pair of Allosauridae)
Camarasaurus means "chambered lizard" named for this large open areas of its skull. This giant sauropod is one of the most commonly found quadrupedal dinosaurs in North America. The first portions of a Camarasaurus skeleton were collected by Oramel Lucas in 1877, but were later purchased by Edward Drinker Cope. This was to add to Cope's growing collection and competition against his rival paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh (for more on this interesting moment in American scientific history, check out the PBS documentary Dinosaur Wars).
Camarasaurus was originally thought to be a distinct species, Cope's original, however many recent discoveries have shown distinct Camarasaurus species. These now include Cope's original C. supremus "biggest chambered lizard" as well as C. grandis "the grand chambered lizard" and C. lentus "the lethargic chambered lizard".
Allosaurus meaning "different lizard" was named by Marsh in 1878 (though the name was almost never used until the 1970s). The history of the Allosaurus is at the heart of the bone wars between Marsh and Cope. With many names attributed to its first discovered remains, early research of Allosaurus was a mess. The most significant find came in 1991 when a nearly complete skeleton was found in Wyoming.

As with many of my quick sketches and dino drawings, I use a lot of reference and rely a lot on the work of other artists. I do not often have time to work out all the details of dinosaur anatomy, as much as I would like to. The above image was a quick rendering based on a beautifully sculpted maquette. I cannot and shouldn't take sole credit for it.

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