Introducing The Palaeoartist's Handbook: Recreating Prehistoric Animals in Art: out next month!
In just under a month I have a new book out: The Palaeoartist's Handbook: Recreating Prehistoric Animals in Art, published by Crowood Press. This is a big (280 x 220 mm, 224 pages), full-colour, densely illustrated soft back entirely dedicated to the subject of palaeoartistry: its history, methods, execution and philosophy. It's going to be available internationally from the 27th of August in both physical and digital formats, and online retailers are already taking pre-orders for the cover…
Dating the past – introduction
“How old is it?” is one of the first questions you’ll probably ask when you see an interesting rock or fossil. It’s certainly one of the first things that a geologist wants to know. As you’ll discover, finding the answer could involve you in topics as varied as investigating rock layers above or below the sea, studying fossils and their evolution or using radioactive elements as geological clocks.
Heritage scientist timeline – Joan Wiffen
Tributes came in from around the world when Joan Wiffen died in 2009. She was the woman who found the first dinosaur fossils in New Zealand and rewrote the way we understand the country’s past. Joan achieved this fame as an amateur scientist, not a professional. She received numerous honours and awards, wrote scientific publications and popular books and had a documentary film made about her life. Yet all this only happened in the later part of her life.
Joan Wiffen and her fossils
Joan Wiffen and colleagues were famous for finding fossils at Mangahouanga Stream, in north-west Hawke’s Bay. Dr James Crampton, paleontologist at GNS Science, outlines some of the marine reptiles and dinosaur fossils they found. He explains why dinosaur fossils are so rare in New Zealand and how hard they are to extract from the rock.
Dr James Crampton takes you inside the National Paleontology Collection at GNS Science to see some of the dinosaur and marine reptile fossils found by Joan Wiffen at Mangahouanga Stream. He shows a mosasaur skull, plesiosaur paddle and skull, pterosaur wing bone and vertebrae from two dinosaurs. Point of interest: The diagrams of dinosaurs within this video clip are a representation of what scientists believe these creatures might have looked like.
Date a dinosaur
Dinosaurs used to live in New Zealand. We know this because their fossils have been found in a few places. The fossils of a number of different dinosaurs were found at the Mangahouanga Stream, in north-west Hawke’s Bay, by Joan Wiffen and her colleagues. They were found together with fossils of land plants, including pollen from trees and tree ferns, as well as with fossil marine animals.
How old is that dinosaur?
Dr James Crampton, paleontologist at GNS Science, explains how relative dating was used to determine that dinosaur and other fossils found in north-west Hawke’s Bay were from the Cretaceous period. Microscopic fossils, found with the dinosaurs, were correlated with others dated at other places to provide more precise dates.