Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Torvosaurus gurneyi

Torvosaurus gurneyi. Image: Scott Hartman and Carol Abraczinskas

Today a new dinosaur is being introduced to the world, and I'm thrilled and honored that that the paleontologists decided to name it after me. It's called Torvosaurus gurneyi.

 The dinosaur, which was discovered in Portugal, is one of the largest carnivorous dinosaurs from the Jurassic and the largest land-predator discovered in Europe.

Lead author Christophe Hendrickx of the Universidade Nova de Lisboa and Museu of Lourinhã says, “With a skull of 115 cm, Torvosaurus gurneyi was...an active predator that hunted other large dinosaurs, as evidenced by blade shape teeth up to 10 cm.”


Mr. Hendrickx says he chose the name because of a childhood fascination with the book that I wrote and illustrated called Dinotopia: A Land Apart from Time.

When I introduced Dinotopia more than 22 years ago, I received many letters from young children who said they wanted to become artists or paleontologists. It gives me great pleasure to hear from some of them all these years later and to find out that they're doing for a living what they dreamed about as kids.

Dinotopia is a fantasy world, but it started with the science. Many dinosaur paleontologists, such as Michael Brett-Surman, Jack Horner, Phil Currie, and Ken Carpenter helped me to visualize the extinct animals that I painted in the book, and one of them even curated an exhibition of Dinotopia original artwork for natural history museum. What inspired me to write the book was the new dynamic vision of dinosaurs that emerged from the work of those very scientists.

Imagination is at the heart of all science, but it's especially at the core of paleontology. Paleontologists have a highly disciplined form of imagination, similar to that of a detective. I'm in awe of how they can pull together scraps of evidence and then—guided by patience and skepticism—build a complete vision of a world that we will never see.

Next time I return to doing paintings of Dinotopia, I look forward to visualizing Torvosaurus—perhaps with Mr. Hendrickx riding it.
---
Scientific publication: "Torvosaurus gurneyi n. sp., the Largest Terrestrial Predator from Europe"
Article at NBC News

46 comments:

Eugene Arenhaus said...

Congratulations! You deserve the honor like few people do! :)

frostfyre said...

That is truly wonderful, congratulations!

Pablo Lara said...

Congratulations James!

Torvosaurus now deserves to be included in the Dinotopia next book!

Jen Z said...

It warms my heart to see that those you inspired as children can bring something as monumental as this back to you. It is an honour worthy of your fine self and truly deserved!

Charles Johnson said...

Congratulations James! Anyone can win a Nobel, but how many people can say they've got a cool, carnivorous dinosaur named after them?
Torvosaurus: Savage Lizard!

Carole Pivarnik said...

That is awesome and well-deserved recognition for your work! Congrats!

António Araújo said...

Congratulations, James! That is just so cool. :)

ps:I'm a bit tickled that your dino used to live in my neighborhood, so to speak :)

BrittMartin said...

Congratulations on your baby...ehm... dinosaur...

That is really great, and deserved!!

19mrscott69 said...

Congrats James. How many people can say that in another 150 million years they'll still be remembered?

Max Martelli said...

Congratulations James! A well deserved honor.

Maywyn Studio said...

Bravo! What an honor! Congratulations.
Classy paleontologists. Bravo to Mr. Hendrickx and the team.

Keith Parker said...

Wow. That's so cool....And kinda crazy.

Kit Umscheid said...

Wow! and BRAVO!

riseofthemolecule said...

Congratulations, you certainly deserve it!

David Glenn said...

I just read about this not too long ago. I was so excited that I shared it on Facebook and online. I'm really glad that I included Torvosaurus in the book I wrote. Would you be okay if in my next book I name one Gurney as a reference to you? I look forward to seeing the Torvosaurus in a Dinotopia book.

Alhaitham Jassar said...

This is seriously cool news! not everyday you see a new dinosaur that carries your name :)
Congratulations!

Skulleigh said...

That's so awesome! I am envious. Congratulations!

Dan said...

Wow! James, sincere congrats. That will last forever.

williamblomstrom said...

Congratulations, who can saw they have a dinosaur named after them.

Der WhiskyClub said...

This ist awesome, James. Congratulations!

Tuomas Koivurinne said...

Greetings from Finland and congratulations, Mr Gurney!

Erik Bongers said...

I predict that further scientific investigation will reveal that Torvosaurus Gurneyi lived in a very democratic social structure and resented hierarchy and dogmas. That they were constantly teaching each other skills, that they had a no-nonsense attitude, that they were very humorous and loved to self-relativate.

However, scientists will remain baffled as to why they seemed to love collecting strange goggles.

Congratulations.

Erik Bongers said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Erik Bongers said...

CNN has an article on The Beast.

hena said...

That's such an honor. Congrats! :D

Christian said...

Congratulations, Jim!
What a wonderful story and well deserved honor!

Firman Iman said...

Congratulations,Jim...
you deserved to get that...
this is cool...really2 coollll..:)

Dan Green said...

I'm tickled pink for you! Congratulations Jim.
Do you know where this beast was found? I went to see some dinosaur footprints north of Lisbon, in Fatima once – it would be cool to think that this predator might have stalked those placid grazing dinos.

karl smith said...

I read this as a news article on the bbc website last nit, and as soon as I saw the name "torvosaurus gurneyi" I knew there had to be a connection- congratulations!

Dan Kent said...

Wow that is amazing! Congratulations!

James Gurney said...

Thanks so much, everybody, and thanks to Christophe. I guess it means it's OK to be a dinosaur.

Rebecca Holt Stay said...

Congratulations!
We took our six kids to your art exhibit at the Cleveland Natural History Museum. They knew each painting from the books and LOVED seeing the originals. It truly was one of the highlights of years in Ohio. Now three of those little boys have doctorates in phyics/math, chemistry , and computer science/graphics and all of them still do art with their own children. Thanks for your amazing creativity.

Tom Hart said...

What a fitting honor, James. Hearty congratulations!

Edward Morris said...

Very cool!

Dick Hill said...

Soooooooo cool! Totally deserved! Maybe it's time to update your blog to "Gurneyi Journeyi".

WW said...

James, congratulations! This honor is also an affirmation how literature can profoundly affect the lives of the young readers. I'd like to think that without your stories and the art the illuminates them, this dinosaur might never have been discovered. Wow.

Izak van Langevelde said...

Congrats, you lucky old dinosaur!

geert van der zee said...

Taking the credits from another person is really low, it was Aart Walen who found the upper jaw in 2003.

dragonladych said...

How amazing! And well deserved too!

drawntoit said...

A wonderful honor, and so great to know that your books, stories, and paintings have inspired so many to careers and pursuits in the arts, sciences, and literature! Also count the many readers who have passed the joy of reading to their children through sharing Dinotopia. Beautiful!

Roberto said...

Wow! Congratulations Mr. Jimi Gi. This is Fantastic!! You am The Man! I always knew you were the Dino-Man, and now you actually are The Dino!
I propose that whenever they show an illustration of The Torvosaur with that little human silhouette to show scale, the figure should be Arthur Denison and Blix!
A well deserved honor. Art really can make a profound impact on our lives. Keep up the good work. –RQ

@ Geert… Aart Walen is given credit for his contributions here:

http://motherboard.vice.com/en_uk/read/this-new-dinosaur-was-europes-biggest-predator

http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0088905


Luca Marini said...

Fantastic new!!! Congratulations from Italy too!!!!

Ilse "Lhune" Gort said...

When I saw the news report of the discovery on Dutch television I noticed the name and wondered if it was a coincidence. Guess it isn't! Congratulations, that is such a special honor!

David J Teter said...

Congrats James and I agree with Roberto "Art really can make a profound impact on our lives."
You have proven that.

It certainly had a profound impact Mr. Hendrickx!

I don't think anyone will be able to 'de-comission' your dino like they did to the planet Pluto!

Bdszoke said...

Congratulations! I can think of no one else who deserves this honor like you do. I remember picking up your books in fourth grade, and the books filled my father (a scientist) and I with a sense of wonder that brought us closer together as we took the journey of Will and Arthur together. It also began my own journey, not into paleontology, but into history, inspired by the mysteries of the world beneath. Today, I am applying for a PhD, so again, thank you, your books started a lifelong journey, and I can think of no one else more deserving to have their names immortalized in such a way as yours. Thank you, from both my father and I.
Balint Szoke, and Balazs Szoke (Father)

James Gurney said...

Thanks to everyone who expressed your kind wishes. Best wishes to you, Balint, as you pursue your PhD in history, and I'm so glad to hear your life interests were influenced in some way by "The World Beneath."

It seems that when we are between 10 and 15 years old we're like a big ball at the top of a hill, and that we could potentially roll in any direction. The way we start rolling at that age often determines the course of our lives.