A duckbill dinosaur died and desiccated 65 million years ago. A flash flood lifted the articulated carcass and quickly transported it to an environment of fast water and rapid burial. The skeleton and skin impressions were preserved. Duckbill mummies are rare, and only a few museums have them. This skeleton was found in Eastern Wyoming in 2000, and excavated during the following three summers. A ridge of blade-like scales line the back, and round, stubby scales underlie the feet, and thousands of centimeter-diameter scales cover the tail, legs and hip. This specimen of Edmontosaurus annectens was named Sterling Dragonback, after the volunteer that found it, as well as the nature of the dorsal scales.
You never find the whole dinosaur. What you see in a museum is usually completed with reconstructed bones, or it’s a composite of multiple skeletons. But that loses the best part of the story. What happened to the missing bones? Were they scavenged, decomposed, or washed away in the present day? By leaving the distinction between what is real and what is not, the viewer can contemplate the question. In this sculpture an abandoned oil tank was used to cut silhouettes of the missing bones. These pieces were assembled into a life-size triceratops. The few real bones collected from one excavation were put in their proper position. The distinction here is obvious.
Steel from abandoned oil tanks, 20% real triceratops bones
The skeleton of pachycephalosaurs are rare, but the thick skull is not. Many museums have weathered domes, rounded like boulders. The rest of the skull and skeleton is known from very few bones, yet reconstructions abound in books and movies. Conjecture in paleontology, guided by modern analog, is required. Color, sound, behavior, movement, musculature – with only bones and a few footprints and skin impressions, the scientist is left to guess. This sculpture places the real dome of a pachycephalosaur in a translucent sculpture of the head. The distinction between what is real and imagined is clear.
Polyurethane resin, real pachycephalosaur skull
Predator/Prey in Balance
A vertical pipe supports a teetering bar. On one end there is a triceratops lower jaw. On the other side there is another teetering bar. On this bar there is a steel skull of a dromeosaur. On the other end there is another teetering bar. On this bar there is a lead-filled bowl with a Tyrannosaurus rex tooth in the center. On the other side there is another lead-filled bar with a pile of triceratops teeth. This sculpture is about communication of predator/prey relationships as a balance between natural forces, represented by balancing physical forces.
Steel, real triceratops teeth and mandible, real T-rex tooth, lead, marble