Tag: Mark P Witton

Mark is palaeontologist at the University of Portsmouth, UK, specializing in pterosaurs — the flying reptiles that lived at the same time as non-avian dinosaurs. He is the author of the 2013 Princeton University Press book Pterosaurs: Natural History, Evolution, Anatomy. In addition to research, he also works as a palaeoartist, recreating the life appearance of fossil animals for educational and entertainment media. In addition to numerous press releases and museum exhibits, he designed several creatures for the 2013 20th Century Fox movie Walking with Dinosaurs 3D, and has acted as a technical consultant on several other documentaries, including the BBC’s Planet Dinosaur and the David Attenborough film Flying Monsters 3D. You can see more of his work at www.markwitton.com and its sister blog, markwitton-com.blogspot.co.uk

Contact Details:

Dr. Mark P. Witton, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Portsmouth, Burnaby Building, Burnaby Road, Portsmouth PO1 3QL, UK.

Patterns in Palaeontology: Palaeoart – fossil fantasies or recreating lost reality?

Patterns in Palaeontology
by Mark P. Witton*1 Introduction: Illustrations, sculptures and animations of fossil organisms and the world around them are mainstays of palaeontology. Such restorations, known as palaeoart, are more important than they may at first seem: they help to communicate palaeontological ideas across age and language barriers; have inspired generations of scientists; and have provided the foundation of an international industry of palaeontology-themed merchandise and media worth hundreds of millions of pounds. Due to its increasing prominence and popularity, palaeoart is routinely scrutinized by scientists and the public alike. How can we infer so much about the postures, soft tissues, colours and behaviour of extinct animals when fossil skeletons — be they shells, bones or carapaces — are all