I thought it would be useful to share some recommendations for other places to consume paleontology media, news, art, etc. Here are a few of my favorites–definitely not a comprehensive list!
The Common Descent Podcast
Creators: Will Harris and David Moscato, paleontologists and science communicators from Tennessee
Audience: paleo fans, novice to fanatic
I’m not generally a big podcast person because of the large proportion of podcasts that are just two guys chatting aimlessly for an hour or so. But this paleontology podcast is extremely focused and organized, while also being funny and entertaining. They have a great format: first they share four paleontology news pieces in the first half hour, distilling the important parts and putting them in context with other research or implications. This makes the content way more memorable and easily understandable than reading the journal paper itself, but has more depth than you’d get from reading a sci-news article. Then, they take an hour to discuss the main episode topic–one host presents, following a well-thought-out outline, but leaves room for the other host, who is listening, to interject with questions, clarifications, or jokes. They also do special series in which they talk about movies, interview scientists, or design creatures, which are also great. You can find them on Podbean, the Podcasts app, Patreon, and their blog.
Type: art book
Creators: John Conway, Darren Naish, and CM Kosemen, renowned paleoartists
Audience: everyone, but especially aspiring paleoartists
This is the paleoart counterculture manifesto, a book that protests the use of paleoart stereotypes in favor of creative, speculative, but still scientific, interpretations of extinct creatures. Along with now-famous depictions of Parasaurolophus as an absolute unit, Protoceratops hanging out in trees, and Stegosaurus’s impressive member, they also include hilarious artwork of modern creatures drawn using bad paleoart stereotypes, such as shrink-wrapped, venomous baboons, horizontal-necked rabbits, and terrestrial manatees. This book has also spawned a whole paleoart movement, so I think it’s worth checking out the source.
The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World
Creator: Steve Brusatte, renowned American paleontologist and tyrannosaur expert
Audience: everyone–use this to get your dinosaur-clueless friends to have some idea of what you’re rambling about!
This book takes the reader on a tour through the Mesozoic, looking at the age of reptiles in detail while also presenting the author’s own experience as a paleontologist. It’s very recent, and thus serves as a good primer on the modern theories about dinosaurs. It’s also a very compelling narrative, and the author is a world-renowned expert on tyrannosaurs, so his insights into what made that specific group so successful are presented here.
The Palaeoartist’s Handbook
Type: art book
Creator: Mark Witton, renowned British paleontologist and paleoartist
Audience: aspiring paleoartists
This book, while pretty dang dense, does a good job of explaining how to create accurate life reconstructions from first principles–how we know what we know. It explains what types of osteological correlates correspond to what types of overlying tissues, how to interpret trackways, and how not to fall prey to paleoart “memes,” among other things. It also contains some really beautiful and inspiring original artwork.
Mark Witton’s Blog
Creator: also Mark Witton
Audience: paleo fanatics and paleoartists researching a specific animal
This blog is a sort of extension of Mark Witton’s book, or his book is a distillation of his blog. If you liked the book and want more super-detailed analysis on various extinct animals’ anatomy and lifestyles, give this a try. It’s especially useful if you’re a paleoartist looking for direction or inspiration for a specific creature–just google “Mark Witton Tanystropheus” and two novella-length posts containing diagrams and original research will float your way.
Humming Dinosaur: Maija Karala’s Blog
Creator: Maija Karala, renowned paleoartist from Finland
Audience: anyone interested in biology, botany, paleontology, and paleoart, but especially paleoartists
This blog covers a wide variety of topics, and I’ve found it especially useful for paleoart inspiration. Paleobotany is especially a topic of weakness for me and many paleoartists, even though it comprises the stage on which our beloved, charismatic vertebrates do their thing. This blog saw that need and filled it.
Creators: see below
Audience: anyone who enjoys paleoart
My personal favorites: CoffeeBlack, Daitengu, Derpyduckart, Dinomaniac, Dinostavros, Dustdevil, Guindagear, Hyrotrioskjan, Kuzim, Lucas Atwell, Lythroversor, Olorotitan, Promilie, Pterosaur Freak, Qilong, Stygimoloch spinifer, Thek560, The Meep Lord, Xiphactinus
There is so much amazing free paleoart out there, and you can learn a lot about what an artist considers when making paleoart decisions by reading the descriptions on Deviantart. You can also comment, ask questions, and interact directly with them if you’re gutsy!