Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Tyrant King

Well, the painting's finished.

It's been a long time since I've done a piece of dinosaur art.That's very strange and surprising to me, since it was dinosaurs that got me to start drawing, and sent me down the path that led to my life as an illustrator today. I feel like I owe the field of vertebrate paleontology a huge debt.



It's very hard to talk about the Tyrannosaurus Rex without resorting to superlatives. Its name alone translates to 'Tyrant Reptile King.' At over 40 feet long, roughly 18 feet tall and weighing about 8 metric tons, it is one the largest land predators to ever walk the Earth. Its teeth were 6 to 12 inches long, round, thick and serrated, and were capable of crushing bone. Its head was massive, a full 5 feet long. The arms were tiny, with only two fingers. That being said, they were well muscled and powerful. The legs of Tyrannosaurus were long in proportion to the body. There is still much debate in the scientific community as to the top running speed achievable by Tyrannosaurus. The Tyrannosaurus's tail was long, thick and heavy, required to counterbalance the rest of the animal's bulk. Finally, many of the bones were hollow, reducing weight without loss of strength.

Tyrannosaurus appeared on Earth about 68 million years ago (MYA), at the height of the Cretaceous Period, the final period of the Mesozoic. Its range was Western North America, which during the Cretaceous, was part of the continent of Laurentia. The The Tyrannosaurus's prey included the duckbilled hadrosaurs and the horned ceratopsians. In this illustration, our Tyrannosaurus has taken down an Edmontosaurus annectens, one of the largest of the hadrosaurs (in fact, it nearly matches the T. Rex in length).

The Tyrannosaurus perished, along with 75% of all life on Earth 65 MYA during the KT Cataclysm. However its impact on the modern world is substantial (in my personal opinion, no other extinct animal has had such an impact on popular culture as the Tyrannosaurus). It has appeared in movies such as Jurassic Park, the Toy Story Series and King Kong. The largest Tyrannosaurus exhibit in the world, Sue, is a popular attraction at the Field Museum in Chicago, IL. Childrens' books, toys, and games revolving around Tyrannosaurus remain popular to this day.

2 comments:

joncolton said...

Great piece. Nice narrative illustration. You old dog you.

jonisart said...

This is definitely classic Piya:-) It has been a long time since I've seen you do a dinosaur. It looks great, love the composition.

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