David K. Smith

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Art inspired by field work

Copro Lite tee shirt design

1989 • St. Johns, AZ: This is the overly busy tee shirt design I came up with to commemorate my first summer of field work. It features coprolites, fossil excrement, because we found hundreds of them at the Placerias quarry. I've never seen such a concentration of coprolites since that time. Kevin Padian told us, "Just toss them into the microwave for a minute and they'll soften right up!"

Chinle's Watering Hole tee shirt design

1990 • St. Johns, AZ: Following my second summer of field work at the Placerias quarry (Chinle Formation), I came up with this design. It is believed that during the Triassic, the site was a water hole where various animals would congregate. The design depicts the four large reptiles whose bones were found at the Placerias quarry and in the nearby Blue Hills: Placerias, an aetosaur, a metoposaur, and a phytosaur.

Rats of the Cretaceous tee shirt design

1991 • Rock Creek Marina, MT: Near the eastern shores of Fort Peck Lake, we found fossil evidence of several Triceratops in the Hell Creek Formation. Commenting on their abundance, Mark Goodwin called Triceratops "the rats of the Cretaceous." And so, a shirt design was born.

Tri-Moon beer label

1992 / 2003 • Shell, WY: At the Tri-Moon quarry, we were exposing the pelvic bones of three distinct and widely-spaced sauropods from the same layer in the same hill. One morning, while walking down the path toward the site, with the three excavations visible in the distance, someone said "It's as if they're mooning us!" And that is how the quarry got its name. This dig never generated a tee shirt design, but instead, was commemorated in this 2003 beer label after we revisited the quarry that year.

Deinonychus tee shirt design

1993 – 1994 • Bridger, MT: In 1993 I was fortunate to help in reopening the quarry where, in the mid-1960s, John Ostrom of Yale found Deinonychus, the dromaeosaur whose discovery led to all the hubbub about birds and dinosaurs sharing a common ancestor. Over a two-year period, we recovered articulated hands and feet, as well as new skull material. Unfortunately, the original artwork has been lost. This is actually a scan of a xerox of a shirt (that's why the text is a bit wonky). If this were in color, you'd see that the claws are bloody.

Diggers reunion invitation design

1994 • Reunion of fellow diggers: We returned to the Deinonychus site and also spent a week north of Havre, MT, in the outcrops along the Milk River, however, no tee shirt design came out of it. This cartoon for a reunion invitation shows many of the critters whose bones we had worked on up to that time.

Punk sauropods tee shirt design

1995 • Bridger, MT: Not far from the Deinonychus locality is the Mother's Day site, an extensive bonebed of primarily juvenile and subadult sauropods. Following three weeks of work there, I came up with this tee shirt design. Since then, the design has been used on two other shirts: once for a CalPaleo meeting shirt and, more recently, on a UCMP tee shirt with the heading "Generation X-tinct." For the latter shirt, the beers were replaced with lattes and the sauropod's shirt was given a trilobite design...we thought the University would be happier with that.

City of Two Tails invitation design

1996 • Bridger, MT: Working in outcrops just a stone's throw from the Deinonychus site, we collected two articulated tenontosaur tails — in both cases, all the other bones from these individuals were missing. A tee shirt design was suggested: instead of "A Tale of Two Cities," it would be " A City of Two Tails." Again, a tee shirt design never materialized, but a drawing, a tad gruesome perhaps, was finally produced in 2002.

Diplodocid invitation design

1997 • Reunion of fellow diggers: No tee shirt design came out of 1997's field work (near Hysham and Glendive, MT) but this diplodocid did grace a reunion invitation.

Deinonychus beer label

1998 • Reunion of fellow diggers: Edgar, MT is a speck of a town north of Bridger. We spent a few field seasons working on private land east of town. No tee shirt design came out of 1998's field work but Deinonychus reappeared at this year's reunion as part of a beer label. A variation on this Deinonychus drawing can be seen on UCMP's Dinobuzz pages.

Large theropod invitation design

1999 • Reunion of fellow diggers: Back in Edgar, we found a handful of bones (shown in red) from a fairly large theropod. Though we had only these few bones to go on, we were able to accurately reconstruct the animal (yes, this is pure imagination). This graphic was used in both an invitation and a beer label.


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