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Many years after the first four books appeared, I learned about a new fossil creature called Dinaelurus. There was speculation that this animal might have been a cheetah-like "cursorial predator".
( "Cursorial" means an animal that courses or runs down its prey.)
At that time, no-one had drawn a reconstruction of Dinaelurus similar to the one of Nimravus above. I decided to try, but it was hard to find a drawing or photo of the skull. I finally ended up enlarging a very tiny drawing in an evolutionary tree illustrating the development of the nimravids.
It worked well enough for me to start the clay sculpture shown below. I intended to use the model as a reference for sketches. I was amazed at how real it looked in the photograph even though the model is scaled down by roughly one-third.
Photo and model by Clare Bell, 2006
Below is the skull of Dinaelurus crassus, from the John Day formation in Oregon. This drawing was part of the original scientific paper by Eaton describing the fossil, and is one of three illustrating front, top and side views./p>
Image from the 1926 paper by Eaton
This was sent to me by Spanish artist Maricio Anton, who did the beautiful illustrations for The Big Cats and Their Fossil Relatives, by Alan Turner. I had emailed him a query about Dinaelurus and he very kindly emailed me the images.
I used them to correct and complete the model above, although I retained the skull flange shown in the original reference. I think the fossil in the drawing had the back of the flange broken off. Or maybe I need to re-do the sculpture. The model is slightly rotated in the photo.
Here's my sculpture of Dinaelurus crassus, built on the above clay skull. I built up the form anatomically, adding muscles and other bits.
Model and photo 2006 by Clare Bell