Leaving the Pool

Before dinosaurs, before the Age of Reptiles, animals needed to lay their eggs in water and could not survive long without dampening their sensitive skins. This was the Age of Amphibians. Here, the illustrator shows the first creatures to venture from the riverbeds, the fish-like Lobefins. The green amphibian trying to climb the rocks to the left is the first true land animal, Ichthyostega; it still resembles a fish in many ways (note the tail, the head, and the poorly formed feet). On the fallen log to the right is a later amphibian, Seymoria, who is better adapted to land. These three represent a cycle of evolution. The appearance of the menacing Pterydactyl, a creature that would not exist for 35 million more years, represents the future…and how perilous venturing from the water can become. Note the down-like fur on the body of the Pterydactyl. The illustrator uses all the most modern archeological findings to render his subjects.

Joe Heller, for "Danger, Dinosaurs" © 1989 Center Stage Productions