Parasaurolophus sculpture by Brian Engh

October 7, 2019

This past summer I did a post on my birthday card from Brian Engh, but I haven’t posted about my birthday present from him: this handmade fired-clay sculpture of Parasaurolophus.

I don’t have a ton to say about it, other than that — as you can tell from the photos — it looks pretty darned convincing. I adore the fern leaf impressions in the base.

This sits on the mantle in our living room. My eye wanders to it in stray moments. I’ve often run down ornithopods as boring, but they’re all right. They’re the clade of dinosaurs most remote from my research, so they’re about the only ones left that just signify “dinosaur” to me, without any research-related intellectual baggage. So when I’m woolgathering and my eyes land on this sculpture, it doesn’t make me think about me or now. It makes me think about them, and then. It’s a talismanic time machine. And a pretty darned great birthday present. Thanks, Brian!

7 Responses to “Parasaurolophus sculpture by Brian Engh”

  1. Mike Taylor Says:

    Isn’t sending someone an ornithopod sculpture a veiled threat, like leaving a horse’s head in their bed?

  2. Matt Wedel Says:

    The meaning of the ornithopod sculpture gift has changed radically over time. In the 1830s, it constituted a marriage proposal. During the Bone Wars of the 1870s and 1880s, it was an invitation to a fossil finding/varmint shooting competition. In the dinosaur dark ages of the 1940s through the 1960s, it took on a negative connotation, as the gift of an ornithopod sculpture generally meant the sender was clearing out junk to make room for more mammal teeth. Ornithopod sculptures hit rock bottom in the 1990s, when they were briefly — and unflatteringly — associated with the quest for a transformative hermeneutics of quantum gravity. In the past decade, however, there has been a minor renaissance in ornithopod sculpture collecting among the cognoscenti. As the more obvious and garish adornments of the other dinosaur clades have become déclassé, the clean lines of the ornithopods have come to embody the post-cybernetic neo-modern aesthetic.

    All of this is detailed in my forthcoming paleo-philosophy treatise, “Everything Old is Boring Again,” soon to be available at bookstore discount racks and remainder piles everywhere.

  3. Mike Taylor Says:

    Sign me up for three copies!


  4. jeeeeeeeeeeeeeezzz I _thought_ it was pretty obvious i left it there to remind you to get back to me with script revisions for the documentary we’re making about the Morrison Formation that I’m pretty sure I sent you an as-of-yet unanswered first draft of back in the 1870s…

    i’m glad u like the dino tho ;}}

  5. Rugosidens Excelsus Says:

    Huh. I never knew Brian Engh sculpted…

  6. Matt Wedel Says:

    Plus you know he made all these monsters himself, right?


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