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All Yesterdays: Unique and Speculative Views of Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Animals by [Naish, Darren, Kosemen, C.M., Conway, John]
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All Yesterdays: Unique and Speculative Views of Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Animals Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Length: 100 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled Page Flip: Enabled
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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 13772 KB
  • Print Length: 100 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Irregular Books (5 Nov. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00A2VS55O
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #52,267 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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Format: Kindle Edition
All Yesterdays represents a radical and wholly feasible re-imagining of prehistoric life. The quick, agile dinosaurs illustrated by Bakker, Paul and their followers in the late 1960s and 1970s revolutionised the ponderous image that had been perpetuated by Knight, Zallinger and Burian. But Bakkerian dinosaurs quickly became a new orthodoxy, adhered to just as strongly as the old had been. The Jurassic Park raptors of 1993 were direct descendants of Bakker's drawing from 1969. And although details have changed since then -- orientation of the hands, the addition of feathers -- the general body shape has survived largely unchanged in all nearly all palaeoart.

It takes art as radical as that of All Yesterdays to show us just how locked-in we have all become to the Bakker-and-his-followers school of life restoration. I don't think it's exaggerating to say that Conway's work is the first truly new approach to depicting extinct animals since the 1960s -- which means that All Yesterdays is not only the most beautiful but also the most important palaeoart book of the last four decades. Up to this point in history, we've had two dynasties of dinosaur art. I think All Yesterdays is the launch of the third.

And it is beautiful. There are some superb palaeoartists working in the field at the moment -- it's never been more dynamic and, in the best sense, competitive. But while the work even of some excellent practitioners is rather interchangeable, Conway's pieces are always instantly recognisable because he is an artist first and a palaeoartist second. Others may be more accomplished or have better technique, but Conway's palaeoart has an evocative and even poignant quality that is very rare, maybe unique.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have a confession to make. I've always been disappointed by reconstructions of dinosaurs.

When I was growing up they were either grey, brown or green and invariably scaly, and just didn't look like real animals. They were depicted in the same boringly cliched poses and activities. Even post Jurassic Park, when they suddenly sprouted feathers, they still looked like freakish, half-mummified chimaeras.

This informative, accessible book seeks to explain why, while delighting us with imaginative pictures of dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures caught being just as diverse and behaviourally interesting as extant animals.

It's split into two parts. The first reconstructs fossil animals while trying to avoid the common errors and limitations of past reconstructions. The second, more whimsical (and short) section illustrates the effect those errors and limitations can have by reconstructing modern animals from imperfect fossils.

The art is simple and lovely, the text easy to read without being dumbed down (the intro is actually the trickiest bit, and for the few potentially unfamiliar scientific terms used, there's a short glossary at the back. For the real enthusiasts, there's also a full bibliography for further reading). As a Kindle e book the colour pictures expand gloriously on a retina iPad, allowing you to see every brush stroke. It's great to see dinosaurs looking interesting at last, in all their weird, well-fed and occasionally cute glory!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The world of palaeontology has gone through some rather major shake-ups in the last decade or so and our understanding of just what dinosaurs and their contemporaries looked like has been right at the epicentre. It's about time we started to similarly shake-up palaeo-art and hopefully this book will be the first of many to address just that!
If you have any interest in palaeontology, biology or anatomical art then I cannot recommend this book enough. The idea is an extremely simple one: take a look at how dinosaurs and other extinct creatures are most commonly portrayed and ask why? Yet, to my knowledge, no one else has actually addressed this fascinating topic, let alone produced a host of fantastic illustrations to go along with their counter-points. The quality of the illustrations does vary a little, but that's to be expected in a book with multiple contributors; plus, every piece has been cleverly designed to highlight a specific problem with your average palaeo-artist's work.
Frankly, if all this book contained was images of "classic" palaeo-art and the artist's re-imagined (yet equally plausible) take on the same scene it would be interesting enough, but the in depth discussion that accompanies each piece is often astonishing. Conway and Naish have a fantastic way of writing that captures their own excitement surrounding the subjects and also manages to be factual and educational. They're also not afraid to put their necks on the line, with some wonderfully weird ideas making the cut, nor admit to their/the field's failings and limitations when it comes to guesstimating appearance and behaviour from, ostensibly, rocks.
Then, of course, there is All Tomorrows.
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Format: Paperback
Bored by dinosaurs always looking the same? Ever wondered what they might have actually done other than stomp, and roar, and bite? This little gem takes an iconoclastic look at dinosaurs, challenging us to think again, think a little more boldly and think outside the box. Excellent ideas, interestingly illustrated. I really want the front cover print on my living room wall! But "only" 4 stars because a bit more of the dinosaurs would be good, and a bit less of the "what will palaeontologists of the future make of today's creatures if they only found a few bits of our skeletons?". More importantly while this book makes the basically sound observation that the possible range of dinosaur behaviours is not adequately illustrated across the body of dinosaur literature, its lamentable failure to reference "The Dinosaurs" by Preiss and Stout does call into question the authors' knowledge base. "The Dinosaurs" (1980 ... ish) is a truly seminal, visually stunning work, the express intention of which was to look at dinosaur behaviour in the round. For "All Yesterdays" to either be unaware of this book, or even worse to be aware yet fail to mention it, is a rather large Achilles heel given the territory it claims for itself. Still, a very good book, and I see the price is coming down a little from when I bought it.
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