While there has been a veritable ton of Jurassic World related stuff going on around the Internet, I decided to cut back and slack off a bit as I went through alternative versions of a prehistoric theme park. Now, as a member of deviantART and the non-academic/semi-academic online paleo-community, trust me I know what I want when I say that I'd like to see a slightly different version of the prehistoric paleo-zoo.
(By the way this came, the new TV Spot)
So many artists have captivated me but there's only room to show them one at a time, so here is a prehistoric aquarium courtesy one of my good friends, paleoartist Julio Lacerda! He is a master of the digital medium, almost a wizard in terms of his conception of these extinct beasts as animals as opposed to scientific diagrams or plain monsters. And by the way, we all know that [Jurassic World](movie:32752) will feature an aquarium, which is a little...well, admittedly strange given that the ancient DNA was derived via mosquitoes so...yes...well Julio himself doesn't go into the specifics but here's a little teaser of the beast from the movie's upcoming aquatic exhibit:
The creature is absolutely gigantic, a marine lizard called a Mosasaurus, but there's plenty wrong with it, for example that overly lizard-like skin and the utter vastness of the animal! Yes, the real Mosasaurus was roughly fifty feet long at best, but let's think for a moment that this was not just a movie. And considering that this creature is a large apex predator, would keeping it be even safe for anyone? Well, let's look at what Julio has to offer. The image at the top of his page is that of a beautiful Shastasaurus, a gentle giant that preyed on small animals, much like a modern whale. It reminds me of an immense aquarium exhibit that features whale sharks, of similar size and habits to the massive reptile illustrated here. The inclusion of humans for scale makes the picture all the more interesting.
Now this beauty is also a wonderful marine reptile, despite looking superficially like a dolphin (or considering that this guy was here millions of before mammals, do the dolphins look like it?). It's known as an Ichthyosaurus, part of a large family of creatures so well adapted to life in the water that they couldn't crawl up on land anymore. In fact, hardly any of the large oceanic reptiles of the dinosaur age could.
In this beautiful shark tank-like tube, a Plesiosaurus swims through a school of tropical reef fish. Wouldn't you love being in a place like this with an animal looking like a cross between a snake and a sea turtle floating effortlessly above your head? It would be a real dream...I really enjoy the inclusion of two more silhouettes of its kind in the distance and the overall photorealistic quality of all these paintings.
And here we have a smaller relative of the JW leviathan, dolphin-sized and happy as he checks out a curious primate through the glass ports...
Now if you want big fish, check out this adorable Bulldog Fish, a great white-sized monster from the dinosaur age that looked like a fanged tarpon! Of course even the big and ugly need some love, don't they? Just look at that sweet little face...that being said, Julio has captured the sleekness and true beauty of this massive predator quite effectively through this depiction.
The most recent of Julio's pictures puts the artist in center stage as he checks out a small ichthyosaur. I'm really digging those Grecian-looking columns in the corner and how well the fine details of this painting have come out.
And never fear, because it's not just the reptiles from the Mesozoic-Age of the Dinosaurs-that inhabit this incredible aquarium! We've also got these two exhibits, a pair of sharks from before their reign and my, don't they look dapper in their weird outfits? Check out this darling little Ironing-Board Shark!
...here's his bigger buddy, a graceful-looking Buzzsaw Shark searching for squid to chomp up with those strange teeth. Both of these lived millions of years before the dinosaurs.
Of course there are whales, but the whales of the prehistoric aquarium can also do things like, well, walk on land, almost like a weird hybrid of a seal and a crocodile, but this image still makes this bizarre pickle, a Rodhocetus I think, from early in the Age of Mammals look quite distinctly cetacean as it reaches for the ball.
There's even a penguin in this paleo-zoo...a prehistoric giant penguin Inkayacu, almost as tall as a man, with a sword-like bill! Also note that this monster bird's colors are those that it had in nature. But what of the impact of such a zoo? Of course genetics cannot take us back so far as to create an impressive park like the ones seen on the silver screen, but dreams are vital to us. It is the force of creativity that drives people forward but sometimes when concerning captive animals, there are ethics involved. However what about for GMO's-that's essentially what a cloned extinct life form is after all-and their rights? Can we say that something cooked up in a lab has any when humanity has put its stamp on it? Of course Julio admits that his series of prehistoric aquarium drawings is pure fantasy and goes on to explain the implications of zoos in general and the ethics involved. As for the idea of being so close to a large wild creature, he adds:
It makes you really feel part of the world, connected to these life forms, and so fragile and weak compared to the megafauna. And that's the reason why the Jurassic Park trilogy was such a success, especially in movie form: how amazing would it be to feel the same way standing next to animals two, three, many times the size of the biggest elephant you've ever seen?
And there you have it. However he is not the first to recreate the beauty of a much more peaceful prehistoric refuge via art. There are plenty more realistic Jurassic Parks out there and we will see them a few posts later when I'm not procrastinating on my novel. Cheers!