Gregory S. Paul

Gregory Scott Paul (born December 24, 1954) is an American freelance researcher, author and illustrator who works in paleontology, and more recently has examined sociology and theology. He is best known for his work and research on theropod dinosaurs and his detailed illustrations, both live and skeletal.[1] Professionally investigating and restoring dinosaurs for three decades, Paul received an on-screen credit as dinosaur specialist on Jurassic Park and Discovery Channel's When Dinosaurs Roamed America and Dinosaur Planet. He is the author and illustrator of Predatory Dinosaurs of the World (1988), The Complete Illustrated Guide to Dinosaur Skeletons (1996), Dinosaurs of the Air (2001), The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs (2010), Gregory S. Paul's Dinosaur Coffee Table Book (2010), The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs: 2nd Edition (2016), The Princeton Field Guide to Pterosaurs (2022), The Princeton Field Guide to Mesozoic Sea Reptiles (2022) and editor of The Scientific American Book of Dinosaurs (2000).

Gregory S. Paul
Gregory S Paul in Princeton.jpg
Paul in 2011
Born (1954-12-24) December 24, 1954 (age 67)
Washington D.C., United States
Known forAccurate dinosaur restorations

Pioneering feathered theropods during "Dinosaur Renaissance"

Technical/popular books and articles, criticism of religion
Scientific career
FieldsPaleontology, Paleoart, Sociology, Theology
InfluencesCharles R. Knight, William Scheele, Bill Berry
InfluencedArtists during and after the "Dinosaur Renaissance"

Paul's recent research on the interactions of religion and society has received international press and media coverage.



Stegosaurus stenops and Allosaurus fragilis mounts posed after illustrations made by Gregory S. Paul, Denver Museum of Nature and Science[2]

Paul helped pioneer the "new look" of dinosaurs in the 1970s.[3] Through a series of dynamic ink drawings and oil paintings he was among the first professional artists to depict them as active, warm-blooded and – in the case of the small ones – feathered.[3] Many later dinosaur illustrations are a reflection of his anatomical insights or even a direct imitation of his style.[1][4] The fact that he worked closely with paleontologists, did his own independent paleontological research and created a series of skeletal restorations of all sufficiently known dinosaurs, lead many to regard his images as a sort of scientific standard to be followed.[5] This tendency is stimulated by his habit of constantly redrawing older work to let it reflect the latest finds and theories. Much of it is in black-and-white,[6] in ink or colored pencil. Sculptors have used these anatomical templates as a resource for decades,[7] and still do today[8] many unauthorized and uncredited[9] Even one of his scientific critics, Storrs L. Olson, described him in a review in the Scientific American as "a superior artist". He was inspired by classic paleoartists such as Charles R. Knight, and has a fondness for the dinosaur restorations of the little-known artist Bill Berry.[10][11]

Paul's line art and paintings have been published in over 100 popular books and shown in more documentaries than other modern paleoartists [12] including several television programs such as The Nature of Things, NOVA, Horizon, and PaleoWorld.[2]


From 1977 to 1984, Paul was an informal research associate and illustrator for Robert Bakker in the Earth and Planetary Sciences department at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.[2] Paul lacks a formal degree in paleontology, but has participated in numerous field expeditions and has authored or co-authored over 30 scientific papers and over 40 popular science articles.[2] Paul proposed that some of the bird-like feathered theropods were winged fliers, and that others were secondarily flightless, an idea supported by some fossils from China. Paul proposed the controversial thermoregulatory concept of "terramegathermy", which argues that only animals with high basal metabolic rates can exceed one tonne on land.[13][14] Paul has named the following dinosaurs, alone or with co-authors:


Aside from many scientific articles, Paul has written four books on paleontology, all illustrated by the author:

  • Predatory Dinosaurs of the World (1988): Aimed at a popular audience; informed part of the Jurassic Park novel, as evidenced by acknowledgement from author Michael Crichton. It also influenced dinosaur designs for the film.[20]
  • The Complete Illustrated Guide to Dinosaur Skeletons (1996): Only available in Japan for a short time, this reference book reproduced Paul's skeletal reconstructions.
  • Dinosaurs of the Air (2002): Quite scholarly, the book puts forth the hypothesis that some theropods, especially maniraptors like Velociraptor, were descended from flying dinosaurs who later lost the ability to fly.
  • The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs (2010): The work is 320 pages covering 735 species with over six hundred of Paul's illustrations. A second edition was published in 2016.
  • Gregory S. Paul's Dinosaur Coffee Table Book (2010): A large-format hardbound collection of colour works, with commentary on each. Many pieces are revised works in progress to reflect new evidence, and are pictured next to the original works.
  • The Princeton Field Guide to Pterosaurs (unreleased; 2022): This work will feature descriptions of 115 pterosaur species and over 24 of Paul's illustrations.
  • The Princeton Field Guide to Mesozoic Sea Reptiles (unreleased; 2022): This work will feature descriptions of 435 Mesozoic sea reptiles.

Paul was also editor of The Scientific American Book of Dinosaurs (2000).


Because creationists claim that popular acceptance of evolution harms societies, and because the sociology of religion's cultural impact is under-researched,[21][22] Paul began to investigate what he labels the "moral-creator socioeconomic hypothesis." Paul authored a paper in 2005[23] wherein, he states in the introduction that the paper is "not an attempt to present a definitive study that establishes cause versus effect between religiosity, secularism and societal health".[24] He concludes that less religious first world societies generally have low social dysfunction. However, many important and unresolved problems were noted by other researchers on his methodology such as lack of clarity in his definitions and concepts of "religion" and "secular", too much reliance on scatter plots instead of multivariate and multiple regression analysis which single out variables from complex phenomena to better source the probable causes of any correlations, and not indicating the limits of his sources of data in such as the diverse linguistical understanding of "religion" in all cultures in the data used.[25][26]

In a follow-up paper in 2009 he notes "high religiosity is not universal to human populations, and it is actually inversely related to a wide range of socio-economic indicators representing the health of modern democracies." Paul holds that, "once a nation's population becomes prosperous and secure, for example through economic security and universal health care, much of the population loses interest in seeking the aid and protection of supernatural entities. This effect appears to be so consistent that it may prevent nations from being highly religious while enjoying good internal socioeconomic conditions."[27]

These conclusions are in line with other sociological research such as Pippa Norris and Ronald Ingelhart's Sacred and Secular (2004) and Phil Zuckerman's Society Without God (2009). His research is not in line with works from John Micklethwait and Adrian Woodbridge,[28] or research from Peter L. Berger (2009)[29] and Philip Jenkins.[30]

Paul's paper goes on to conclude that religion is not universal, that there is no well developed God gene, and that humans are much more adapted to be materialists than spiritual. The study was covered by the senior science editor at Newsweek who observed that the "brain may indeed be predisposed to supernatural beliefs. But that predisposition may need environmental input to be fully realized."[31] An article in USA Today presents contrasting views on Paul's conclusions.[32][33]

In Philosophy and Theology Paul published a paper that cites the large scale deaths of children as evidence against the existence of a good God. The paper concludes that the widely held free will and best of all possible worlds theological hypotheses are not correct. The absence of a moral creator is cited in the Evolutionary Psychology paper as one reason why religiosity would not lead to superior societal conditions.[34]

In a discussion in Science, Paul observes that "Prosperous modernity is proving to be the nemesis of religion". The same piece also claims that the lack of religion in some hunter-gatherers refutes the God gene hypothesis, in which a propensity to religion is genetically hard wired into the human brain.[35]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Paleoartistry: 1970s
  2. ^ a b c d Curriculum Vitae – Gregory S. Paul: Books, Articles, Abstracts & Other Projects
  3. ^ a b Gregory S. Paul: The Full Autobiography Part 3
  4. ^ Products & Services - Gregory S. Paul: Available For Projects, Commissions
  5. ^ Naish, D. (2009). The Great Dinosaur Discoveries. A & C Black Publishers Ltd, London. p. 138
  6. ^ Jane P. Davidson. (2008). A History of Paleontology Illustration, Indiana University Press, p. 180
  7. ^ Rimell, R. (1995)Building and Painting Model Dinosaurs. Kalmbach Publishers, Wisconsin. p. 40
  8. ^ Debus, Allen and Bob Morales. Dinosaur Sculpting: A Complete Guide (2013) p70, 112, 143
  9. ^ Telleria, R. The Visual Guide to Scale Model Dinosaurs (2012), p19, 21.
  10. ^[bare URL PDF]
  11. ^[bare URL PDF]
  12. ^ "Autobiography - Gregory S. Paul: Bringing Them Back to Life".
  13. ^ Paul, G.S., Leahy, G.D. 1994. "Terramegathermy in the Time of the Titans: Restoring the Metabolics of Colossal Dinosaurs." in: Rosenberg, G.D., Wolberg, D.L. (eds). DinoFest. The Paleontological Society Special Publication 7. U. Tenn. Press. Knoxville pp:177–198.
  14. ^ Paul, G.S. (1998). "Terramegathermy and Cope's Rule in the Land of Titans". Modern Geology. 23: 179–217.
  15. ^ a b c G.S. Paul, 1988, Predatory Dinosaurs of the World. Simon & Schuster, New York pp. 1–464
  16. ^ Brett-Surman, Michael K.; Paul, Gregory S. (1985). "A new family of bird-like dinosaurs linking Laurasia and Gondwanaland". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 5 (2): 133–138. doi:10.1080/02724634.1985.10011851.
  17. ^ Paul, G.S. (1988). "The brachiosaur giants of the Morrison and Tendaguru with a description of a new subgenus, Giraffatitan, and a comparison of the world's largest dinosaurs". Hunteria. 2 (3): 1–14.
  18. ^ a b Paul, Gregory S. (2008). "A revised taxonomy of the iguanodont dinosaur genera and species". Cretaceous Research. 29 (2): 192–216. doi:10.1016/j.cretres.2007.04.009.
  19. ^ Elzanowski, A.; Paul, G.S.; Stidham, T.A. (2001). "An avian quadrate from the Late Cretaceous Lance Formation of Wyoming". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 20 (4): 712–719. doi:10.1671/0272-4634(2000)020[0712:aaqftl];2.
  20. ^ "Welcome (back) to Jurassic Park". April 4, 2013.
  21. ^ Bloom, Paul. "Does Religion Make You Nice? Does Atheism Make You Mean?" Slate November 7, 2008.
  22. ^ Shermer, Michael. (2009). "Bowling for God" Scientific American 12/06.
  23. ^ Paul, Gregory S. (2005). "Cross-National Correlations of Quantifiable Societal Health with Popular Religiosity and Secularism in the Prosperous Democracies" (PDF). Journal of Religion and Society. 7. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
  24. ^ Paul, G.S. (2005), p. 2.
  25. ^ Jensen, Gary (2006). "Religious Cosmologies and Homicide Rates among Nations: A Closer Look" (PDF). Journal of Religion and Society. 8.
  26. ^ Moreno-Riano, Gerson; Mark Smith; Thomas Mach. "Religiosity, Secularism, and Social Health" (PDF). Journal of Religion and Society. 8.
  27. ^ Paul, G.S. (2009). "The Chronic Dependence of Popular Religiosity upon Dysfunctional Psychosociological Conditions" (PDF). Evolutionary Psychology. 7 (3): 147470490900700. doi:10.1177/147470490900700305. S2CID 17667074.
  28. ^ Micklethwait, John and Woodridge, Adrian .God is Back These latter works argue that the resurgence of religion in diverse and previously secular nations such as India, Singapore, China and Turkey, which has primarily been among the more educated, economic upper-class, when viewed alongside the continued religious adherence in the United States, seems to paint Europe (the primary center of Paul and Zuckerman's arguments) as the exception instead of the norm.
  29. ^ Berger, Peter. ed., "Religious America, Secular Europe?" ISBN 978-0-7546-6011-8
  30. ^ Jenkins, Philip. "The Next Christendom: The Coming Global Christianity"
  31. ^ Begley, S. (2009). "Unwired for God: Religious beliefs may not be innate", Newsweek.
  32. ^ Vergano, D. (2009). "Science, religion debated as evangelical takes top NIH post". USA Today.
  33. ^ "Science, religion debated as evangelical takes top NIH post".
  34. ^ Paul, G.S. (2009). "Theodicy's Problem: A Statistical Look at the Holocaust of the Children and the Implications of Natural Evil For the Free Will and Best of All Possible Worlds Hypotheses". Philosophy and Theology. 19: 125–149. doi:10.5840/philtheol2007191/27.
  35. ^ Paul, G. S. (2010). "Religion Tied to Socioeconomic Status". Science. 327 (5966): 642. doi:10.1126/science.327.5966.642-b. PMID 20133553.


External linksEdit