36. Gorgosaurus at Rest, 1917


Lawrence Lambe was one of the first dinosaur hunters to discover the richness of the Red Deer River beds in Alberta around the turn of the century, but he was not an avid field worker, and he moved on to become Chief Paleontologist for the Geological Survey of Canada. In 1912 he commissioned the Sternberg family to collect dinosaurs for Canada, and it was Lambe's task to sort out, name, and describe the tons of fossils that were subsequently unearthed and sent to Ottawa. A nearly complete skeleton of Gorgosaurus (now Albertosaurus) found by the Sternbergs in 1913 is the subject of the monograph exhibited here.

Lambe included many kinds of illustrations in his article: photographs of the field excavation, a drawing of the fossil as found, and a full skeletal restoration. But the most striking illustration is a set of four very faint pen drawings, showing life restorations of Gorgosaurus in standing, sitting, feeding, and lying positions. The drawings, done by Arthur Miles under Lambe's direction, were among the first to show a dinosaur in other than the usual standing posture.

When the debate arose in the 1970s over whether dinosaurs could have been warm-blooded, the fourth Miles drawing was occasionally pulled out of context to demonstrate that some early authorities thought dinosaurs were too weak to even stand up. Lambe never entertained such a notion.


Lambe, Lawrence M. The Cretaceous Theropodous Dinosaur Gorgosaurus. Ottawa: Government Printing Bureau, 1917. Series: Canada. Department of Mines. Geological Survey. Memoir 100. This work was on display in the original exhibition as item 36.

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