Coloured pencil illustration, October 2008
Here is my first attempt at creating a realistic Jurassic scene in coloured pencil. What you see is an example of the animals and plants that lived in Bavaria during the Jurassic (I am not too sure if the plants pictured were found there at that time, but I am not a palaeobotanist, nor do I strive to be!).
In the air we have Rhamphorhynchus (the flying reptile with a long tail and a brown body), and behind it is Pterodactylus (with purple “fur”). In the sea is Aegirosaurus, an ichthyosaur. Flying in the foreground with blue and white plumage is Archaeopteryx, and running on the ground are Compsognathus chasing Bavarisaurus. The plants are, from left: a cycad; a tree fern; a horsetail; and a Norfolk Island pine.
Solnhofen is the name of a town in Bavaria in southern Germany. It is in a limestone quarry near to Solnhofen that the fossils of the above animals were found, some in almost immaculate condition. It is believed that Bavaria at the time was a tropical archipelago with saltwater lagoons. The lagoons would harbour few bacteria as the salinity of the water would have been too high to support even brine shrimp. As a result, any animal that fell in (alive or dead) would have been well preserved.