Caturday felid, now with dino!

August 22, 2009 • 6:26 am

Bruce Woollatt, who posts under the handle “Your name’s not Bruce?” won an autographed copy of WEIT by coining the term “faitheist.” I have had some correspondence with him, and learned that one of his avocations is dinosaurs. He has an artistic bent, too, and has built models of dinos for the Children’s Museum in London, Ontario. I thought I’d post, with his permission, some photos of his latest project, especially because it includes a cat.

First the cat, who is used as a scale for Bruce’s modelling. As he tells it:

Amber has been a part of our family since the summer of 2001. We think she is about ten years old. She was dumped with her litter of kittens in my mother-in-law’s neighbourhood. She started hanging around people’s homes; people started to feed her. Her kittens were caught and homes were found for all of them through a local organization called Animalert. Mom, however eluded capture, for a while at least. Then one of the neighbours phoned Animal Care and Control, who snagged her using a noose-like device. Unlike Animalert, ACC euthanizes unclaimed animals after two weeks. So my wife and I got over there as quickly as we could to pick her up and have her put into Animalert’s system. They gave her a checkup and spayed her (apparently she was pregnant again; the Animalert people told us that if Animal Care and Control had known this they might have euthanized her right away). We agreed to foster her on a temporary basis as we already had an elderly cat (C.G. for Curious George. She died the following February at age 17). Amber had other ideas. She worked her way into our hearts and “temporary” has turned into eight years. When she is not using her talents as a geophysical standard measurement she is the furry head of our household.

AmberFig. 1. Amber

Bruce describes his latest project, which he’s been pursuing since March (you can find his ongoing posts about the project here. (Have a look; it’s an amazingly intricate operation.)

My aim is to make an accurate, poseable 1/10 scale Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton out of cheap, safe and simple materials (cardboard, wire, wood, papier mache) using simple tools and techniques. I’m using FMNH PR2081, the specimen known as “Sue”, which is part of the collection of Chicago’s Field Museum of Natual History, as my prototype. I’m going to be using Sue’s dimensions and proportions to size up my rex. The Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology’s Memoir on T.rex osteology by Christopher Brochu is my main source of information, with details from other specimens used as needed to fill in any gaps.

Amber plus dinpFig. 2. Current state of model, with Amber as scale

dino skulleFig. 3. Foundation of dino skull.

Tail vertebraent

Fig. 4. Tail vertebrae


Figure 5. Hindlimb bones. Femur, tibia and fibula of papier mache, smaller bones of cardboard, tissue, glue, and acrylic paint

Bruce and SueFig. 6. His name is Bruce (and hers is Sue)