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Reconstructing a Carboniferous Peat Swamp

Scientific illustrators work hand in hand with paleontologists to accurately reconstruct ancient plants, animals, and environments based on fossil evidence. These pages provide an overview of the process used by Mary Parrish, a scientific illustrator with the NMNH, to reconstruct a Late Carboniferous peat swamp. It was prepared under the direction of Tom Phillips (University of Illinois) and William DiMichele (NMNH).

Step 1.  Research
Step 2. Composition
Step 3. Painting
Step 4. Critique
Step 5. Final Art/ Home
Final Art/Home
Carboniferous Swamp
by Mary Parrish, under the direction of Tom Phillips and William DiMichele

The above illustration was published as figure 22 in Willard, D.A., Phillips, T.L., Lesnikowska, W.A. and DiMichele, W.A. 2007. Paleoecology of the Late Pennsylvanian-Age Calhoun coal bed and implications for long-term dynamics of wetland ecosystems, International Journal of Coal Geology, 69:21-54.  ETE publication 129.

Since its completion, this reconstruction has be used in many publications and museum exhibitions. It won Best Scientific Illustration Award in the Paleo Art Exhibition at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science in 2004.

Site launched 4/5/10
Site by Mary Parrish

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