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Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...

Fife

Dino Rexie’s move is a real saur point in Glenrothes

February 24 2011

An artwork's move to a more prominent location in Glenrothes has provoked roars of disapproval among locals. Residents in the Caskieberran area have been outraged at the decision to move Rexie, a large dinosaur sculpture, from its spot on Waverley Drive to the centre of Caskieberran roundabout. Now it has emerged that a petition has been drawn up urging the council to return Rexie to its rightful position, while local comedy singing duo The Tam Tam Club have also written a protest song about Rexie to show the community's strength of feeling. You Rexie Thing, which is sung to the tune of Hot Chocolate's 80s hit You Sexy Thing, has been posted on the internet and contains the line, "I believe in dinosaurs, where you from, you Rexie thing." It also samples the Was (Not Was) record Walk The Dinosaur, featuring the lyric, "Caskieberran get off the floor, everybody save the dinosaur." Rexie's move was decided by Glenrothes area councillors in December, when £15,000 was granted towards the repair and moves of a number of the town's outdoor sculptures. But while the upkeep of the artwork was welcomed by many, relocating the dinosaur did not go down well with locals. Despite being given an assurance by Fife Council that public consultation on any move would take place, Central Fife MSP Tricia Marwick said she was "appalled" to learn it had already happened. "I had an undertaking that the dinosaur would be removed for repairs and that local people would be consulted and that hasn't happened," she said. "I will be writing to the chief executive demanding an explanation as to why they told me one thing and did another. The town art belongs to the town, not Fife Council officials." In addition to the protest song by locals Tam Short and Tam McKay, it is understood over 150 people have signed a petition calling for Rexie's return. Among the other items of public art being moved are the giant hands, the horse and chariot, the picture frame, the giant mushroom and the elephants in Pitcoudie. Glenrothes has nearly 150 pieces of public art and, in taking the decision, Fife Council stressed some of the works had deteriorated because of age and vandalism. Councillor Fiona Grant, who chairs the Glenrothes area committee, said at the time, "These measures will prolong the life span of these sculptures and help safeguard some of the town's heritage. "A great deal of thought has gone into where the sculptures should be re-sited with regard to complementing existing art in the area or simply moving into positions where more people can enjoy them. "The aim is for the art to be both visually pleasing and to get people talking about them." You can find The Tam Tam Club's song at www.dailyreckless.co.uk

Perth & Kinross

Discovery of 400 million-year-old fossil reveals Perth was home to scorpions

March 4 2016

Potentially deadly scorpions once roamed the land around the Tay. The revelation has come following the exciting discovery in Perth of a fossil dating back 400 million years. It is understood Scotland was part of a large continent at this time and located south of the equator. The find said to be the first of its kind in Scotland was made at Friarton Quarry. Rosalind Garton, tutor with the Open Association at St Andrews University, was leading a geologists’ trip there. She spotted some unusual pit marks preserved in the rocks. The pits represent the individual claw marks left by a scorpion-like animal as it walked over wet mud, and a central groove is the drag mark made by the animal’s tail. The trace fossil is known by the Latin name Palaeohelcura tridactyla. The rock in which it was found is 400-million-year-old sediment sandwiched between layers of volcanic rock. Ms Garton said the rock was once mud on the shore of a lake or river that existed between periods of volcanic eruptions. Her husband, Richard Batchelor, honorary research fellow in the department of earth and environmental sciences at St Andrews University, helped her research the fossil. Ms Garton said: “This is the first record in Scotland of this trace fossil and it is an important clue to the kind of animals that were once living here.” The discovery has been placed alongside other fossils, including a dinosaur’s footprint from Perth Museum’s collection, and is on display at Strathearn Community Library, Crieff, until March 16.

Road tests

Audi Q2 puts quality over size

March 21 2018

Audi’s Q2 was one of the first premium compact SUVs on the market. It sits below the Q3, Q5 and the gigantic, seven seat Q7 in Audi’s ever growing range. Although it’s about the same size as the Nissan Juke or Volkswagen T-Roc, its price is comparable with the much larger Nissan X-Trail or Volkswagen Tiguan. Even a basic Q2 will set you back more than £21,000 and top whack is £38,000. Then there’s the options list which is extensive to say the least. My 2.0 automatic diesel Quattro S Line model had a base price of £30,745 but tipped the scales at just over £40,000 once a plethora of additions were totted up. Size isn’t everything, however. In recent years there’s been a trend of buyers wanting a car that’s of premium quality but compact enough to zip around town. It may be a step down in size but the Q2 doesn’t feel any less classy than the rest of Audi’s SUV range. The interior looks great and is user friendly in a way that more mainstream manufacturers have never been able to match. The simple rotary dial and shortcut buttons easily trounce touchscreen systems, making it a cinch to skim through the screen’s menus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eQ5p5Z7-Ek&list=PLUEXizskBf1nbeiD_LqfXXsKooLOsItB0 There’s a surprising amount of internal space too. I took three large adults from Dundee to Stirling and no one complained about feeling cramped. As long as you don’t have a tall passenger behind a tall driver you can easily fit four adults. At 405 litres the boot’s big too – that’s 50 litres more than a Nissan Juke can muster. Buyers can pick from 1.0 and 1.4 litre petrol engines or 1.6 and 2.0 litre TDIs. Most Q2s are front wheel drive but Audi’s Quattro system is standard on the 2.0 diesel, as is a seven-speed S Tronic gear box. On the road there’s a clear difference between this and SUVs by manufacturers like Nissan, Seat and Ford. Ride quality, while firm, is tremendously smooth. Refinement is excellent too, with road and tyre noise kept out of the cabin. It sits lower than the Q3 or Q5 and this improves handling, lending the Q2 an almost go-kart feel. On a trip out to Auchterhouse, with plenty of snow still on the ground, I was appreciative of the four-wheel drive as well. The Q2 is expensive – though there are some good finance deals out there – but you get what you pay for. Few cars this small feel as good as the Q2 does. Price: £30,745 0-62mph: 8.1 seconds Top speed: 131mph Economy: 58.9mpg CO2 emissions: 125g/km

Rare dinosaur discovery in Egypt could signal more finds

February 6 2018

A dinosaur skeleton the size of a city bus has been unearthed in Egypt’s Western Desert.Researchers from Mansoura University in the Nile Delta said the new species of long-necked herbivore could herald other desert dinosaur discoveries in a country more famous for its archaeological, rather than paleontological, treasures.Hesham Sallam, leader of the excavation team and head of the university’s Centre for Vertebrate Paleontology, said: “As in any ecosystem, if we went to the jungle we’d find a lion and a giraffe. So we found the giraffe – where’s the lion?”Mr Sallam, along with four Egyptian and five American researchers, announced the discovery in an article in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution, on January 29.Experts said the find is a landmark which could shed light on a particularly obscure period of history for the African continent, between 70 and 80 million years ago – approximately 30 million years before dinosaurs became extinct.Named “Mansourasaurus Shahinae” after the team’s university and for one of the paleontology department’s founders, the fossil is the only dinosaur from that period to have been discovered in Africa – and it may even turn out to be an undiscovered genus.The authors said the team’s findings “counter hypotheses that dinosaur faunas of the African mainland were completely isolated” during the late Mesozoic period. Previous theories held that Africa’s dinosaurs during that time existed as if on an island and developed independently from their northern cousins.However, Mansourasaurus’ fossilised skeletal remains suggest an anatomy not very different from dinosaurs discovered in Europe from the same period, an indication that a land connection between Africa and its northern neighbour may have existed.While Egypt has a long history of archaeology, paleontology has not enjoyed the same popularity, or the same success.In 1911 in the Western Desert, the German paleontologist Ernst Stromer discovered four species from the Cretaceous period, including the predatory Spinosaurus, later made famous in Jurassic Park III. All of his findings were lost in an Allied bombing of the Munich Museum during the Second World War.Mr Sallam said researchers do not know how Mansourasaurus lived and died, except for the fact that it was a plant eater. There is no indication whether it lived alone or as part of a herd.The bones do resemble another dinosaur discovery in Egypt, that of the Paralititan Stromeri. This long-necked herbivore is believed to have been among the largest known animals, weighing 75 tonnes and 100ft long.The Mansourasaurus’ smaller size is more typical of the Mesozoic era, when dinosaurs’ time was running out, geologically speaking. With a long neck and tail, it was around 33ft long, and weighed several tonnes.The Western Desert would have more closely resembled a coastal jungle during the dinosaur’s lifetime, when half of today’s Egypt was underwater.

This student took his Tinder profile to the next level by turning it into a PowerPoint presentation

February 21 2018

Standing out from the crowd on Tinder can be tough, but with the help of Microsoft PowerPoint a British student has managed just that – and gone viral in the process.Sam Dixey, a 21-year-old studying at Leeds University, made a six-part slideshow entitled “Why you should swipe right” – using pictures and bullet points to shrewdly persuade potential dates to match with him on the dating app. The slideshow includes discussion of his social life and likes, such as “petting doggos” and “laser tag”, and “other notable qualities and skills” – such as being “not the worst at sex” and “generous when drunk”.It even has reviews mocked up from sources such as “Donald Trump”, “Leonardo Di Capri Sun” and “The Times Guide to Pancakes 2011”.Sam told the Press Association the six-slide presentation only took about 20 minutes to make and “started off as a joke”.However, since being posted to Twitter by fellow Tinder user Gracie Barrow, Sam’s slideshow has been shared tens of thousands of times across social media.So, it’s got the seal of approval form Gracie, but how has the slideshow fared on Tinder? “I’d have to say it has been pretty successful,” Sam said. “Definitely a clear correlation of matches and dates beforehand to afterwards.“Most of the responses tend to revolve around people saying ‘I couldn’t help swipe right 10/10’ but I’ve had some people go the extra mile and message me on Facebook.“Plus some people have recognised me outside, in the library and on dates.”A resounding success.

Readers' letters

Charity should stay clear of wind debate

February 11 2016

Sir, - Has WWF Scotland stopped looking after wildlife in favour of supporting wind turbines and protesting about climate change? There are enough people, organisations, pressure groups and propaganda machines already doing this. Lang Banks, since he took over as director of WWF Scotland, has been firing off press releases and newspaper articles on a monotonous basis. The latest of many was that wind power output in January was 48% of Scotland’s total electricity consumption (February 8). What he is not saying is that on wind-free days, no homes would be supplied from wind generation. What he is not saying is that the rest was supported by coal, gas and nuclear which is needed when the wind does not blow. What he is not saying is that wind electricity is much more expensive. What he is not saying is that Scotland has a miniscule 0.13% of global emissions and the whole point of expensive, intermittent turbines was to reduce CO2 but this has not happened. Does WWF now stand for world wind fantasy? Clark Cross. 138 Springfield Road, Linlithgow. Skills gap holds back Scotland Sir, - According to Scottish Secretary David Mundell, the final Scotland Bill negotiations concern the SNP’s ability to bring in immigrants, because, in essence, every person resident in the country attracts more per capita revenue and it seems while our own people can’t be trained to do the jobs, the UK government will still pick up the tab for their benefits. What a poverty of ideas. In Scotland the 160,000 on unemployment benefit, that is, fit and available to work, will soon be joined by council, steel and oil workers. This equates to 2.2 people per vacancy. We don’t need more workers, we need workers who have the skills, brains and motivation to do the jobs on offer and an ambitious combination of welfare reform, training, life coaching and housing reform to help them. Our education systems should produce fewer event managers and media graduates and more plumbers, nurses, engineers, doctors and teachers. A quick-fix immigration option will make the cost and lack of housing worse. Birthrates will lower because couples cannot afford a family home. A recent government report estimated that one in every two new houses will be required for immigrants. I am not against immigration and supported a Kenyan family to stay in Scotland. We are not “too wee, too poor”, we’re “too untrained, too unimaginative and too entitled”. Allan Sutherland. 1 Willow Row, Stonehaven. Handouts pay for tax freeze Sir, - No matter how many sums our councils do, they cannot continue to cope with the council tax freeze or worse, a reduction, without services suffering. The SNP claims the freeze/reduction is fully funded or costed as are free prescriptions for all and university education. The reality is someone somewhere is suffering for this populist strategy. Just look at the state of the NHS, the exodus of GPs and the slump in student numbers. Angus Councillor Iain Gaul claims the “brouhaha” over the council tax freeze is down to politics. I sincerely hope that his own stance is also down to politics. The thought that our leader believes fairy stories is actually quite frightening. Alan Shepherd. 38 Manor Street, Forfar. Audacity of Labour Party Sir, - As one of the former Labour voters who now back the SNP mentioned by Dr Arthur (February 5), I have to admire his cheek when he applauds Scottish Labour’s plan to raise income tax while condemning the SNP for passing on Tory austerity cuts. Remind me again, is this the same Labour which abstained in Westminster when the Tory austerity cuts were debated? The same Labour that worked with other unionist parties in the Smith Commission to ensure that any Scottish Government would have their tax-raising powers severely curtailed? These restricted powers now mean that any tax rise must apply across all tax payers even the poorest, while the HMRC would charge for collection and the block grant would be reduced. Oh yes, and the so-called £100 rebate would be subject to tax. When the SNP put forward a similar penny on income tax plan which was subsequently withdrawn, Gordon Brown said: “There is hardly a nurse, teacher, policeman or council worker in Scotland who won’t be paying this tax increase. These are the people the SNP claimed it wanted to help and instead they will be hit the hardest.” Heaven help Labour when they are reduced to this kind of dishonest posturing and if this the best they can come up with in order to win an election. George White. 2 Cupar Road, Auchtermuchty. Evolution a flawed theory Sir, - Keith Lawrie (February 4) in stating that 65 million years ago an asteroid strike on Earth destroyed 80% of animal and plant life is engaging in the logical fallacy of begging the question. Presumably Keith is of the opinion that dinosaurs were wiped out in that asteroid strike. Perhaps he can explain how DNA, red blood cells, and soft tissue which according to scientists can survive less than one million years, have been discovered by Dr Mary Schweitzer in a dinosaur unearthed in 2000 in Montana, USA? In trying to solve this dilemma, Ms Schweitzer proposed that iron might help preserve dinosaur soft tissue, both by helping to cross-link and stabilise the proteins, as well as by acting as an antioxidant. However, her idea that iron generated free hydroxyl (OH) radicals (called the Fenton Reaction) caused preservation of the proteins is unscientific, as free radicals are far more likely to help degrade proteins and other organic matter. Indeed, the reaction is used to destroy organic compounds. Perhaps Keith has a better answer? Keith clearly denies the existence of the creator but even evolutionary scientists admit the self-replicating ribonucleic acid hypothesis, their best explanation of creation, doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. Does Keith recognise that unless he can offer sound explanations for the origin of the fine-tuned for life universe and life in its diversity that his worldview is based on faith? Will Brooks. 162 Largo Road Leven. Social value of Christianity Sir, - Kevin Lawrie must really get with it. Most Christians these days do not take the story of creation in the Old Testament literally. We believe in a creator God, as do the Muslims and Jews, but after the creation which, as Kevin Lawrie says, happened long before the date mooted in scripture, modern Christians go along quite happily with Darwin and his theory of evolution. In general, Christians have always devoted more of their attention to the life and teachings of Jesus Christ than to the Old Testament. It is more important to us to live our lives according to these high principles than to argue the wheres and wherefores of Biblical history. Nobody could possibly say that Christ’s teachings are bad and not worth following. As to our children’s education, we cannot give equal weighting to the teachings of other religions with that of Christianity. Christianity is a fundamental part of our Western civilisation. Its teachings underpin much of our culture, our laws, our courts, our sense of social responsibility and caring for others. Our schools cannot ignore Christianity without depriving our children of their heritage and the chance to understand how our society developed into what it is today. Science has played an increasing role in this development, but it is by no means the whole story. George K. McMillan. 5 Mount Tabor Avenue, Perth. Education needs tax cash Sir, - Scottish Labour’s tax proposal of one penny extra per pound of annual incomes above £20,000, and coupled with a £100 rebate for people with lower incomes seems fair to me. This pensioner is willing to pay the extra tax so that we can avoid lowering Scotland’s education standards. This is just the sort of choice the Holyrood parliament was set up to debate. Andrew Dundas. 34 Ross Avenue, Perth.

Perth & Kinross

3,000-year-old Carpow logboat comes home to Perthshire

February 29 2012

One of the finest archaeological finds ever made in Perthshire has taken up residence at Perth Museum and Art Gallery. The Bronze Age Carpow logboat has been transported to the town and painstakingly lifted into its new home by conservation specialists. One of the oldest and best preserved in Scotland, the 3,000-year-old logboat will be at the heart of the museum's new exhibitions, offering an insight into local life in the distant past. Since its excavation from the River Tay, near Carpow, in 2006, staff at the National Museums Scotland's conservation and analytical research department have been restoring and preserving the boat. On its return to Perthshire, the logboat was manoeuvred into Perth Museum in sections by conservators from National Museums Scotland and a team from TG McDonald Engineering. Over the next few weeks, the logboat will be made whole again and take centre stage in an exhibition on its Bronze Age origins, opening on March 19. The logboat was recovered from the Tay Estuary by the Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust after being discovered in 2001, buried in the intertidal sands and gravels of Carpow Bank, at the head of the Tay Estuary. Carved from a single tree, the simple craft are the first known boats in existence. A radiocarbon date verified that the Carpow boat was 3,000 years old, dating to 1130-970BC and excavations in 2002 and 2003 established the full length of the boat at around 9m. While the bow of the boat had been eroded by tidal action, the buried hull and stern remained in excellent condition. The site could only be accessed over the summer for around three to four hours each day, and was reburied in tidal mud and sand at each high tide. The exploratory excavations did, however, identify Carpow as one of the best-preserved prehistoric logboats ever found in Britain. It was eventually decided to recover the vessel for study and conservation after its exposed bow was found to be eroding. Excavation was just the beginning of work to preserve the vessel as the team revealed that the oak boat had only survived because it had remained waterlogged. Once out of the water, the vessel was at risk of disintegration and had to be cleaned, preserved and freeze-dried before it was safe to display in a museum. Perth Museum and Art Gallery has been closed since January to prepare the galleries for the logboat and to allow for the first stage of improvement works in the entrance hall to be completed safely. It will reopen on March 5 with the Dinosaurs Unleashed exhibition, featuring life-size dinosaurs, holographic video presentations by wildlife expert Chris Packham, real and replica fossils and interactive exhibits. Entry is free and the exhibition runs until May 5. Lifelong learning convener Councillor Liz Grant said: ''Painstaking work has enabled the Carpow logboat to be made ready for display so that we can all discover more about life locally thousands of years ago. ''It's great that we have the chance to highlight the ancient history of the Perth and Kinross area as the Museum reopens after important improvements.'' Editor's link: The Carpow Logboat, on the Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust website

Motoring news

Join the queue for littlest Audi Q

November 9 2016

Audi’s relentless release of new models continues with the launch of its smallest SUV. The Q2 goes on sale in the UK next week with prices starting at £22,380. There’s an extensive selection of petrol and diesel power trains as well as the option of front or Quattro four-wheel drive. More models will be added to the range later on, including powerful SQ2 and RSQ2 versions. Aimed squarely at a younger audience, the Q2 has bolder, sharper lines and a different shape to Audi’s bigger SUVs, the Q3, Q5 and Q7. Although it’s clearly meant more for buzzing around cities than growling across farmland, cladding and skid plates lend it an aura of ruggedness. Audi is also offering a range of vibrant colours to deepen the Q2’s appeal to youthful buyers. The interior is as plush as you’d expect from Audi, justifying its price hike over similarly sized SUVs like the Nissan Juke and Honda HR-V. The materials are high quality – softtouch plastics, leather on higher spec cars and brushed aluminium trim elements all blended into a smart-looking package. As standard, drivers get a seven-inch infotainment screen on top of the dashboard. It’s operated through Audi’s rotary dial system that’s far more intuitive and easier to use when on the move than rivals’ touchscreen systems. Among the many options is Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit - a 12.3in screen that replaces the manual instruments behind the steering wheel. Overall, the Q2 is 4.7in shorter than the A3 hatchback, but Audi says there’s enough leg and headroom for two adult passengers in the back. Boot space comes in at 405 litres – 50 more than you’ll find in the A3 hatchback and rival Nissan Juke, although it trails the Mini Countryman by the same amount. To begin with, the only diesel option is a 1.6 litre with 114bhp, although a more powerful 184bhp 2.0 litre unit will be added to the range soon. Similarly, the petrol engine range is limited for now but will be expanded by the end of the year. The 1.4 litre, 148bhp unit offered now will be joined by 1.0 litre, 114bhp three cylinder turbo and 2.0 litre, 187bhp options – the latter coming with an S-Tronic automatic gearbox. When it arrives the 1.0 litre petrol version will be the cheapest model in the range with a price tag of £20,230. Courier Motoring has yet to get its hands on the car but early reviews have been very positive and Audi looks to have yet another winner on its hands. jmckeown@thecourier.co.uk

Books

Jon Hoad causing a Sensation with prehistoric art

July 23 2011

Perth artist Jon Hoad specialises in depicting prehistoric life, and his images of dinosaurs have been on display in museums and exhibitions across the world. He tells Jennifer Cosgrove more about what it's like to be a paleo-artist. Jon said, "I took one look and it was like a religious experience. I thought to myself 'that is what I want to do'. It wasn't the dinosaur that excited me and I like dinosaurs it was actually the plants. "Bizarrely, years later, the artist who painted that picture is a very close friend of mine." Jon was determined to create art like the kind he had seen in the magazine and decided to cut down on his freelance work and dedicate his time to learning about reconstructing prehistory. "My way of looking at it was somebody has to do it and why can't it be me? Back then, there was no internet and there was always a way of thinking these things only happened in places like America. I just locked myself away and got on with it." His work was first shown at Barrack Street Museum in Dundee and from there it came to the attention of a number of experts leading to greater exposure throughout the UK. He has since produced work for The Dinosaur Society UK and Prehistoric Times magazine. Originals and prints of his work have also been on display in the UK, Europe, Asia and Australia. Jon's work also earned him a distinguished talent visa to live and work permanently in Australia, which he did for a number of years. He did work in schools out there, something he would like to do in Perthshire. "I can go to schools and talk about earth history and evolution and try to better their understanding of time and geology. Then, of course, I'd help them create their own dinosaurs with my workshop called Draw-a-saur." He also teaches art classes at the Jardine Gallery in Perth for all ages and ability levels. Jon opened the DinoMites exhibition at Sensation in Dundee with a talk for youngsters about his art and about the prehistoric world. The show gives an insight into baby and juvenile dinosaurs such as tyrannosaurus rex, triceratops and velociraptor and explores the life story of the species. "I don't think I've ever met any children who haven't had an interest in dinosaurs. I think it's just a natural curiosity," he says. "As we learn more about them, instead of somehow taking away the magic, it makes them even more incredible especially when you hear how big some of them were." "He added, The point about dinosaurs is they were so successful at being dinosaurs that nothing else really got a look in for almost 200 million years. "You hear these comments about how dinosaurs must have failed because they were extinct, but we've only been here for five million years!" DinoMites: The A to Z of Dinosaurs runs at Sensation Science Centre Dundee until September 30. See Jon's website here. "When dinosaurs first evolved, there was no grass and there were no oak trees or beech trees flowering plants at all. Dinosaurs evolved alongside the plants," Jon tells me. He's full of interesting knowledge about plant life in prehistoric times, because he's been studying it so closely for his art. "I just love the chaos of plants and the way they grow. Paleo-botany which is the study of prehistoric flora was the hardest thing for me to get my head around and the thing that even to this day I spend my time getting to grips with." Jon's business is called Art Of Ancient Life and he prides himself of checking every aspect of his pictures with fossil records to ensure the plants and insect life correspond to the time the dinosaur was in existence. He said, "It's important when you're reconstructing prehistory because if you don't know where a creature comes from then you have no clear idea how it interacted with its environment. "I really want to put the effort into environments because if you don't have a context for something it's not going to be very valuable and you can't tell much about it." He added, "Plants are the hardest thing to draw. A lot of people draw dinosaurs and they are very interesting. I am interested in salamanders and lizards and a lot of people have spent a lot of time reconstructing dinosaurs, so knowing where the muscles go is just a matter of doing research. "I'm very cautious with colour, I don't like things to be too garish. I'm not a fan of all teeth and claws and red stripes." Born in London, Jon (45) moved with his family to Perth while he was at primary school. As a boy, his dad took him fossil collecting in places like Lyme Regis in Dorset. Jon's interest in prehistory stems from watching the 1970s David Attenborough television series Life On Earth, which he describes as "probably the first proper natural history documentary." "It made you aware everything that's alive now is firmly linked to what has been alive in the past and it showed some nice examples of that." At Perth High School, he loved to draw and is grateful to his "amazing" art teacher Ian Ross. After school Jon took a graphic design course at Dundee College and soon after found a job with the Archaeological Trust in Perth producing reconstructions of human prehistory and habitation in Perthshire. From there on Jon turned freelance, doing technical drawings for companies such as Black and Decker as well as designing logos and producing artwork for album sleeves. He describes his work for the Archaeological Trust as incredibly useful because it gave him the skills he needed to approach this kind of work. One day he stumbled upon an article in Scientific American magazine about Australian polar dinosaurs and saw an illustration that caught his eye. Continued...

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