SASSANI PALEOART

Portfolio

Here are some of my recently completed works. 

 

 

 

 

 

The huge new titanosaur Futalognkosaurus dukei in its natural habitat in Argentina, about 90 million years ago.

Futalognkosaurus (roughly meaning "Giant Chief Lizard") is known from a mostly complete neck, torso, hips, and the first tail vertebra, making it one of the most complete giant sauropods known. It was more derived than the earlier Argentinosaurus, but similar in size. Most length estimates range form 90 to 110 ft. The neck was thick and unusually deep, and the backbone had very large diapophyses (side-processes) to support a wide rib cage.

These were typical features of its family of titanosaurs, known as Lognkosaurs. They are a transitional and small family, with some very large members. Futalognkosaurus, though a record-smasher in its own right, is not the largest member of this family - its relative, the late-evolving Puertasaurus, was considerably larger, possibly the biggest and most massive dinosaur of all time.

Pencil on paper, 8.5x11". 2010.

 

 

 

 

 

An encounter near the edge of a highland forest between a trio of Brachiosaurus altithorax and the very rare basal macronarian sauropod Haplocanthosaurus delfsi, in the Morrison formation in Colorado, 150 million years ago. Stegosaurus armatus also makes a brief appearance.

Brachiosaurus altithorax was one of the largest "classic" sauropods of the Late Jurassic, with adults reaching up to 90 feet in length and weighing 45 tons. Haplocanthosaurus, a distant relative, reached only 50 feet as an adult and was a "living fossil" in its own time, thought to be descended in a direct line from the common ancestor of both brachiosaurs and camarasaurs.

Pencil on paper, 8.5x11". 2010.

 

 

 

 

Tragedy of the Archbishop (Featured on SV-POW! Click here.)

150 million years ago in Tanzania, a subadult 'Archbishop' brachiosaur struggles to stay afloat after getting stuck in a deceptively lake-like bog. As other herbivores get stuck looking for a drink, predators have arrived to snatch a free lunch, only to get trapped themselves. The area is quickly turned into a predator trap, and opportunistic crocodiles and pterosaurs soon take advantage of the drowning feast. This piece includes much of the Lte Jurassic Tendaguru fauna, including Allosaurus, Ceratosaurus, Dryosaurus, Elaphrosaurus, Kentrosaurus, a baby Tornieria, and the 'Archbishop' itself.

Pencil on paper, 8.5x11". 2010.

 

NOTES: The 'Archbishop' is a large brachiosaur that shared the Tengaduru habitat with "Brachiosaurus" (Giraffatitan) brancai, and for many years was mistaken for the same animal. It has since been shown to be a different and even longer-necked genus, but has yet to be formally described and named. This is only the second life restoration of the Archbishop ever done. The first is also mine, here.

The type (and only) specimen is currently under study by Dr. Michael P. Taylor of SV-POW in the British Museum of Natural History. It was excavated by Frederick Migeod (who hastily mistook it for B. brancai) in 1930, at which point Tanzania was in British control, having switched hands after WWI. A number of Migeod's original bones have supposedly been lost, and many are as yet unprepared, but there is still enough material to do a good reconstruction. For more information on the 'Archbishop', click here.

 

 

 

 

 


Zenith of the Devonian Trilobites

The teeming trilobite sea floor in the Devonian period, time of the greatest diversity of trilobites, and of some of the weirdest and most extreme species that ever evolved. Location is a continental shelf in Morocco, around 400 million years ago.

Included in this scene are the trilobites Dicranurus hamatus , Dicranurus monstrosus, Erbenochile Erbeni, Koneprussia sp., Droptops armatus, Paralejurus sp., Ceratarges sp., Scabriscutellum sp., Walliserops trifurcatus, the gigantic Terataspis grandis, and of course the ever-popular Phacops. Also visible are a pair of early sharks and several large nautiloids. The two giant fish in the background are Titanichthys, a far less vicious (though equally large) arthodire cousin of Dunkleosteus.

Pencil on paper, 8.5x11". 2010.

 

 

 

 

Hudiesaurus await the Storm

A Hudiesaurus mother and teenager watch the afternoon landscape beyond a cliff, as a distant pile of storm clouds gets ever closer.

Pencil on paper + digital enhancement, 8.5x11". 2010.  

 

 

 

 

Dragons of Dashanpu Quarry: In Middle Jurassic Sichuan province, China, herds of "Omeisaurus" tianfuensis and Shunosaurus lii feed and drink at the edge of a lake that will one day become the quarry. Their vast difference in neck length indicates different foods and feeding strategies, enabling coexistence without direct competition. Special thanks to Nikola Popovic (a.k.a. DerKompsognatus) and Luis Perez (a.k.a. EmperorDinobot) for their suggestions for this scene, which featured in the ArtEvolved Sauropods Gallery. Now watch that crocodile...

Pencil on paper, 8.5x11". 2009. 

 

 

 

  Detail of Dragons of Dashanpu Quarry. There he is!

 

 

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Last March of the Breviparopus: two of the largest (and most mysterious) brachiosaurs in history trek across the parched landscape of Early Cretaceous Morocco in search of food and water, one last time...

Pencil on paper, 8.5x11". 2009. 

 

 

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The Portuguese Disaster: in Late Jurassic Portugal, three Torvosaurus tanneri attack a pair of Dacentrurus armatus, only to suffer a literally gut-wrenching casualty. Visible in the background are Miragaia and Lusotitan.

Pencil on paper, 8.5x11". 2009.

 

 

 

    Detail of The Portuguese Disaster.

 

 

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Quetzalcoatlus - Sailors of the Sky: A trio of Quetzalcoatlus northropi fly over a flooded stream, angiosperm forests, and a trio of Alamosaurus sanjuanensis. The large trees in the upper left are Araucaria conifers.

Pencil on heavy paper, 9 x 12". 2009.

 

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Anurognathus, a Jurassic beetle's worst nightmare: The tiny, odd pterosaur Anurognathus ammoni, from southern Germany. This little tack-toothed forest-dweller (shown here actual size) ate insects, and its strange set of whiskers likely helped it detect the minute disturbances caused by their flight at night - or else they served to scare them straight into its mouth by the time it was already too late.

Pencil on paper, 8.5x11". 2009.

 

 

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Patagonian Pterosaur Perils: Thalassodromeus, Ornithocheirus, and Tapejara soar above a migrating herd of the gigantic titanosaur Argyrosaurus in Late Cretaceous Argentina. 

Pencil on paper, 8.5x11". 2009.

 

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Lunch strikes back: Chasmosaurus kaiseni charges Albertosaurus libratus (based on a drawing by John Conway). 

Pencil on paper, 8.5x11". 2009.

 

   See enlarged detail of this piece below.

 

  

   Close-up of Lunch strikes back

 

 

    

         Fine detail of Lunch strikes back

 

 

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 The Hunt: A pack of Inostrancevia take down a Scutosaurus. 

 A totally non-dinosaur piece, this drawing shows an ambush in Russia in the late Permian period, well beforethe first dinosaurs (or even their ancestors) evolved. The bear-sized Inostrancevia was the largest of the Gorgonopsians, an extinct lineage very close to the origin of mammals. Over 200 million years older than the first saber-toothed cats, Gorgonopsians were some of the first creatures to evolve long canines for killing prey - in addition, they were probably warm blooded and likely even had hair. Though they resemble modern mammal predators in many ways, their smaller hind limbs and short, thick tails hint at something far more ancient. Their common prey, the bulky herbivore Scutosaurus, was a reptile of a primitive family distantly related to turtles.

 Pencil on paper, 8.5x11". 2009.

 

      Detail of The Hunt.

As the creatures' dusty feet indicate, the climate of Russia in the late Permian was rapidly becoming very dry and arid. Within a few million more years, the supercontinent of Pangaea would be fully formed, changing weather patterns would cause massive global droughts, hot deserts would grow at an alarming rate, and the greatest mass-extinction ever known would wipe out 90% of life on earth - including both Inostrancevia and Scutosaurus.

 

 

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   Pachyrhinosaurus. Pencil on paper, 11.5x17". 2009.

 

 

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A Styracosaurus albertensis herd.

Pencil on paper, 8.5x11". 2009.

 

This piece was a submission for the the upcoming 89th issue of Prehistoric Times, which came out this April. Click HERE to go to their website or HERE to subscribe to the magazine. And many thanks to the editor, Mike Fredericks, for publishing my work.

 

 

  

   Detail of Styracosaurus albertensis herd.