The Paleontology of Chris Wildrick Is Overrated: A Picture Is Worth 1000 Words, 2008-present, performed at several locations in Ithaca and Syracuse, NY. Exhibited at the Redhouse and XL Projects in Syracuse, NY and at the Museum of the Earth, Ithaca, NY.


This is one of the most central projects in this series. Chris collected 5 pictures of each of several dinosaurs, each of these images is from popular culture, usually children's books. He showed the participants each set of 5 images, then asked, which of these images is the closest to your own mental image of that dinosaur species?

For instance, which of the 5 pictures of the Ankylosaurus is the closest to your mental image of what an Ankylosaurus looks like?

Chris collated the results to find out which pictures were the most popular for each species, then analyzed them for their physical characteristics as well as their place in culture.

This project helps us understand what makes a particular way of representing a dinosaur more or less popular, and thus effective, than its peers. For instance, would you guess that scientific accuracy, pop cultural inertia, or the degree of illustrative photorealism would have the most effect?

The answers, as always, are in the book (seen above).


Documentation:

The book, which contains all the images and results:

See this page, which collects all the paleontology books, for more photographs of the book.

(Chris recommends that you view the book PDFs on Acrobat, and that under View > Page Display, you select "Two-Up Continuous" and "Show Cover Page During Two-Up" for the full book experience. "Two-Up Continuous" shows the both the left- and right-hand pages in a spread together on your screen. "Show Cover Page During Two-Up" makes the first page of the book show as a single page on the right-hand side, thus making sure that all the following pages are shown in their correct pairings, like pages 2 and 3, pages 4 and 5, etc. Doing this will ensure that you see the book the way Chris designed it, with various visual and informational relationships existing between the left- and right-hand pages.)

 

You can download the images and the participants' answer sheet here--print it out and play it at home!

 

The now-outdated, but still-interesting 2009 poster of the project is available here:

 

Return to previous page