palaeozoography

Introduction

First of all, welcome to my blog. I’m Zach Armstrong, “The Palaeozoographer”. I got tired of trying to “blog” via DeviantArt’s journal feature (see my DeviantArt page here: http://palaeozoologist.deviantart.com), so I will probably move all of my longer thoughts here. Hopefully, it will be easier to blog, and I can do it more often. Plus, here, anybody can comment, whereas only people signed up on DeviantArt can comment there. Therefore, the discussions will be more open and included a greater diversity of commenters. I will tend to blog about dinosaurs and my own palaeozoography (aka, “paleoart”), however I will likely cover more broad topics than that from time to time.

What is a “Palaeozoographer”?

Simply put, a paleozoographer is someone who illustrates fossil animals, either as life restorations or as reconstructions of the actual fossil material. I derive it from the term “zoography”, the primary definition of which is “the branch of zoology concerned with animal description.” However, the secondary usage is more analogous to what I have in mind, “pictorial art in general, but especially that which shows animals.” So, in this case, “palaeozoography” is the “branch of zoology concerned with the description of extinct animals in pictorial art in general, but especially that which shows extinct animals.”

This word is not technically a neologism of my own invention, as a quick Google search as of today (January 17, 2015), shows only 45 results (“paleozoography” showing 44 results), so it is not in common usage. The actual term “paleozoographer” or “palaeozoographer” shows only 8 and 24 results in a Google search as of today. Therefore, since it is not in common usage, I feel is OK to appropriate it for my own use.

Why not “paleoartist”?

For sure, “paleoartist” is a much better known term, as is the term “paleoart”, but as has been pointed out by others, it is not actually the best formed word. As constructed, it should mean “ancient art”, presumably referring to art produced by ancient people, such as cave art, etc. I also toyed with the idea of “paleobiographer” (which would be more inclusive of all ancient life, including plants), but that sounds like someone who does ancient biographies.

John Conway has attempted to co-opt the word “paleontography” in place of “paleoart”, however the definition and current usage of that is primarily the “description of fossil remains”, or more simply as “descriptive paleontology”. Also, “paleontography” is slightly more used, which Google showing about 8,300 hits. That said, paleontography has not yet caught on either. I doubt the term “palaeozoographer” and “palaeozoography” will catch on either (too long and clunky), but no matter because I like, being more unique than the other terms available. I am acutely aware that I am being animal-centric here, leaving out those who portray paleobotany, etc. I suppose they will have to stick with the more generic “paleontography”.

So, what will this blog be about?

While palaeozoography encompasses a vast number of extinct animals, I will largely focus on dinosaurs in my own art. Therefore, most of the topics I cover will be dinosaur-related. That said, I don’t intend this to be simply a dinosaur art blog, or even simply a dinosaur science blog, but I hope to cover a wide range of topics of all sorts. That said, both dinosaurs and dinosaur art will be a major if not primary focus of this blog. I am not sure how often I will blog, considering I have been very fickle with posting anything on my DeviantArt page, I can’t promise I will be very prolific. My goal, however, is to blog at least once a week, even if just a short post.

Who am I?

I’m a hobbyist artist, with little formal artistic or scientific training. I, of course, took art and science classes in college, and am deeply interested in both, but do not have an art or science degree. I have an Associate of Arts degree in Liberal Arts with a Mathematics Emphasis from Normandale Community College and an Associate of Arts degree in Accounting from Hennepin Technical College. By day, I work as a pension benefits analyst. My previous work experience includes being a college math tutor for 2 and 1/2 years as well as an IT/Accounting Technician for a year. I have been drawing dinosaurs for a long time, 15+ years, and have had a presence on DeviantArt with my current account for about 4 years as of present, with a shorter stint on there of about 2 years with another account.

Ending remarks

My hope is that this blog will bring further attention and add a new perspective to the intersection of science and art. Reactions, in-depth comments, and criticism are very much encouraged, but my hope is to always keep the discourse intelligent and civil. I reserve the right to censor or, in extreme cases, remove comments that do not adhere to a reasonable person’s definition of civil discourse, especially if comments include graphic language, threats or hate speech. Please strive to be kind to others, even if you intensely disagree with their views.

Hope to see you here!

-Zach

2013-12-22 17-52 Alamosaurus drawing small scales painting_6

A piece of palaeozoography – an Alamosaurus strolling along, by yours truly.

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