44. Sprinting Iguanodon, 1927


Gerhard Heilmann wrote The Origin of Birds to offer evidence against Huxley's thesis that dinosaurs evolved from birds (see item 15). Heilmann's primary argument was that the birdlike dinosaurs lacked any evidence of a wishbone or of collar bones, and collar bones are the presumed antecedents of avian wishbones. The book proved very persuasive, and the dinosaur-bird connection was abandoned for many years until it was revived in the 1970s.

But his thesis didn't keep Heilmann, a talented artist, from representing dinosaurs in very active, birdlike poses. His drawings of Compsognathus, running flat-out with its head down (below), and of a pair of sprinting Iguanodon (right), have become classics, since they seem to embody so well the concept of the active dinosaur.


Most of the illustrations are pen and ink drawings, but the book also includes a double-page wash drawing of the Berlin Archaeopteryx that is absolutely stunning, and is too rarely reproduced. Click here to see Heilmann's Archaeopteryx; click here to see his drawings of Struthiomimus and Gorgosaurus.


Heilmann, Gerhard. The Origin of Birds. New York, D. Appleton & Company, 1927. This work was on display in the original exhibition as item 44.

Site Navigation