Pre-Discovery, Fine Arts, Brachiosaurus Depiction from Portugal?

Posted by Chris Parker
May 17 2006


There is precious little data about dinosaurs to transcend. What the museum scientists know about Indians, whales, and elephants is more than enough to mimic real life.

But when it comes to dinosaurs, all they really have to work with is an incomplete jumble of bones. …. And the elephants are a special case. There’s a running joke among professional dinosaur artists that goes like this: Given just an elephant skeleton, they’d probably render a titanic hamster……Discover Magazine..What Did Dinosaurs Look Like, and Will We Never Know?

We’ve used that quote in this section before, but its important to re-establish the idea that most of the dinosaur depictions that we see today are based on incomplete skeletons or bones and that in reality, few if any artist working today really knows what the dinosaurs actually looked like.

We believe that this early 19th century “coffee pot” clearly depicts the head of a sauropod—and after due consideration, we believe it is a depiction of a brachiosaurus. We chose brachiosaurus because it is known for its high, domed head.

An alternate identification might be a camarasaurus, which has a slightly flatter skull than the brachiosaurus. Clearly though, it is the head of a sauropod.The term dinosaur was first coined in 1841—and this piece is believed to be from 1825-1850.

The first sauropods weren’t discovered until 50 to 75 years after this silver piece was cast.Not only that, but early depictions of sauropods were “primitive” and certainly did not evidence the fine features and the “modern” look of this sauropod.

Most sauropod drawings of today conform and show the skin of the brachiosaurus as being closely stretched across its skeletal features. This silver depiction is of a more “fleshy” sauropod.

Clearly, the artist was familar with his subject and just as clearly his knowledge could not have come from fossil discoveries of that time. They were still to come-and of course as we’ve said, there is no comparison between this piece and the early dinosaur depictions even more than 100 years later.

According to the Natural History Museum of London, three dinosaur fossils have been found in Portugal; the brachiosaurus, the camarasaurus and the dacentrurus…


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One Response

  1. s. zeilenga says:

    Whoa. That is way cool.

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