University palaeontologist helps town fossil festival

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PICTURES of dinosaurs, pterosaurs and all things palaeontological are on display this week, thanks to a specialist from the University of Portsmouth.

Dr Mark Witton, who works on ‘palaeoart,’ a specialist branch of natural history art dedicated to reconstructing fossil species, has an exhibition in Lyme Regis which will run until the end of the town’s famous Fossil Festival next 

His gallery will display more than 40 intricately-drawn images of fossil creatures as they may have appeared millions of years ago.

Dr Witton has designed prehistoric characters and advised on the life appearance of fossil species in palaeontology films such as Flying Monsters 3D and the recent Walking with Dinosaurs 3D. His palaeoart has also been exhibited on London’s Southbank.

He said: ‘It was an honour to be asked to exhibit at the fair, which attracts thousands of visitors.

‘Palaeoart is tremendously important to palaeontological and scientific education, but rarely given pride of place in the public eye.

‘I hope visitors to the exhibit not only enjoy the reconstructions but also learn about the skills involved with bringing fossil animals back to life.’