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[Comments] (1) : Rachel came up from London and we walked around town. We spent a lot of time in the Fitzwilliam Museum, especially at the Endless Forms exhibit that's part of the general Darwin-mania here due to the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth. There were a number of cool pieces I wrote down to share with you, but tonight I post about Duria Antiquior, a painting I'd seen in a Steven Jay Gould book but never in color or the size of a wall.

Here's the original, a watercolor created soon after the discovery of ichthyosaurs, dimorphodons, and other cool creatures. The best part is that everything is eating something else, sometimes using hilarious I'm-crushing-your-head perspective tricks.

Here's the huge oil painting they had at the exhibit, a copy possibly used as an educational guide. It's got a lot more detail, but there is one thing missing. In the original, the plesiosaur in the middle is literally shitting itself in fear as the huge icthyosaur crushes its neck, forming what will eventually become coprolites. In the oil painting, this informative detail is omitted.

The original artist was Henry De la Beche, and his other drawings (1 2 3) may shed some light on exactly how funny Duria Antiquior was supposed to be.


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