finally, a herbivore.

I have a confession to make. I love food. I love tasting new things, experimenting with flavors and figuring out new ways to cook stuff. Too often when I see fluffy bunnies, cute cows or silly pigs I end up thinking of my favorite dishes. So naturally, it would follow that when I think of lower-of-the-foodchain dinosaurs, I really wish I knew what they tasted like.

I finally got to decorate a bag with one of my childhood favorites, Parasaurolophus walkeri. The idea was pretty cool, too.The bones that are present in the holotype get tooled in as they are. The parts that are not present appear as more of a silhouette style illustration.

Pardon the lack of ‘early on’ photos. I’m getting forgetful in my old age.

The holotype is pretty complete, nearly everything but the tail was recovered. Those parts got the fossil-bone texture and contours.

ornamented cranium

The illustrated parts were done shallow and flat.

I have recently fallen in love with Fiebings Mahogany oil dye. Now that I’m all fancy with an airbrush, I can put in on lightly, resulting in an ‘old copper’ color, or heavy saturation which goes deep reddish brown.

Here’s the skull, with that crazy crest. I had a dinosaur book growing up that still taught the ‘snorkel’ theory for the crest. Then there was that bunch over at the Sandia National Labs who 3D scanned the thing then modeled what sorts of sounds it could make….


Scapula detail:

It’s worth mentioning the holotype of P. walkeri shows some great pathologies. It seems this guy had a theropod of some sort kindly offer to massage those tight neck muscles. As we know, dinky arms were a HUGE issue for theropods, so clearly this P. wakleri’s buddy had to use his teeth to deliver said massage. Here’s the result:

a little to the left...OUCH

…and a close up of the parts that helped it run away!

Filling in the illustrated bits to get that silhouette look took a LOT of applications of thick stain. Here’s what it looked like after 2 coats.

I went with a 2-tone leather combo. I am really happy with how it turned out.

Not wanting to do anything halfway, I made the stitching 2 tone also with the pale thread matching the lighter colored leather.

Here’s the whole thing, after much fiddling, sewing, and riveting.

This was also the week I got OBSESSIVE about branding and packaging. I made this box from scratch. While I’m never going to do that again, the ‘crate’ look (with label) and the ‘specimen’ label tags are here to stay.

Brett-Surman, M. K. and J. R. Wagner. 2007. Discussion of character analysis of the appendicular anatomy in Campanian and Maastrichtian North American hadrosaurids–variation and ontogeny, pp. 135-169. In K. Carpenter (ed.), Horns and Beaks: Ceratopsian and Ornithopod Dinosaurs. Indiana University Press, Bloomington.

Parks, W. A. 1922. Parasaurolophus walkeri: a new genus and species off crested Trachodont dinosaur. [Toronto]: The University Library, published by the Librarian.

Scott Hartman at

Miller, Chris. December 19, 1997. Digital paleontology: Producing the sound of the Parasaurolophus dinosaur. Sandia Lab News.

more Spring cleaning

There is a little detail I can’t reveal just yet, but here are the last of the Black Beauty images.

Smashing 80 grit sandpaper into wet leather really turns out nicely in the end!


She’s mounted in the classic death pose, with the slightest tilt to her skull. The end result is a nice bit of visual depth with the far side of her skull.

Leather is not quite as forgiving as sculpted matrix, so conveying the overlay here was difficult!

The detail came out nicely, just took some ‘doin!

The wet molded pockets are really durable, and are sewed in before the bag is lined so the backside of the stitches are hidden.

The Royal Tyrrell Museum hosted FPCS in 2013. It was a great event- we even got to hitch out to Dinosaur Provincial Park.

And here she is, all finished.

There will be one more post in this series- one little detail that I’ve not revealed to the young lady who commissioned the work. All in good time!