Ammonite Paintings by Michael Skrepnick


Staff member
Moderator (Staff)
Nov 19, 2002
somewhere under the desert sky
Mike Skrepnick sent me these ammonite paintings, portions of some murals he has painted.

Portions of his email are quoted below along with the wonderful paintings, both artworks are Copyright 2007, Mike Skrepnick:

This note is concerning artistic life reconstructions of ammonites. I am a paleo artist ( my vocation for the last 15 years ) in Alberta, Canada and although most of my painted renderings are of terrestrial Mesozoic flora and fauna, I was recently commissioned to produce a number of mural images for DinosaurProvincialPark, and am currently involved with a second series for Dinosaur Ridge, just outside Denver. Two of the panels are of marine environments, in which ammonites are among the taxa represented.As I'm primarily involved with the restoration of dinosaurs and other terrestrial vertebrates, the marine scenes required research outside my usual sphere of reference. In looking for information, in addition to a number of descriptive papers on ammonites, their functional morphology and proposed behaviours, I came upon the TONMO site and the fossil cephalopod page including a thread featuring the proposed Japanese reconstructions ( all of which were helpful in my brief indoctrination, " Ceph 101 " understanding of the nature of these creatures ).

I noted that you are one of the staff at that site, and thought it best to write to you regarding this. In appreciation of the interesting material I discovered at the TONMO site, I thought the readers might find it of interest to see the finished art ( or at least portions thereof, that feature ammonites ).


The above is a restoration of the Bearpaw Seaway ( Campanian ), represented in the uppermost sedimentary unit at DinosaurProvincialPark. The ammonites depicted are Placenticeras meeki in amongst a pair of feeding elamosaurs Terminonatator ponteixensis, an approaching shark Squalicorax falcatus and receding indeterminate plioplatecarpine mosasaur.


The 2nd image is a detail from the Dinosaur Ridge scene ( should be installed within the next month ) depicting the Western Interior Seaway ( Cenomanian ) of Colorado, in which a flotilla of Acanthoceras amphibolum float above a colony of oysters, clams Inoceramus pictus, and mussels Pinna lakesii ( the latter not shown in frame ), with a pair of Squalicorax cruising in the distance.

It appears to me that fleshed out, life reconstructions of fossil invertebrates are somewhat underrepresented within the literature. . . probably due in part to the paucity and problematic nature of soft tissue preservation I imagine, but still an area that can be addressed, at least conservatively, even if only by virtue of a combination of inferred reference and modern analogs.

Please join me in thanking Mike for these wonderful paintings, and maybe with our mutual collaboration we can "flesh-out" more ammonites.
Thanks for sharing and giving our fossil guys a proud moment. Our live ceph groups get most of the attention (myself included) but the fossil photos and finds are a terrific and interesting segment so it is wonderful to see it referenced and used for real life work.
Brilliant Mike! Those paintings are awesome, I wouldn't mind those on the wall at home.

I'm glad the 'reconstructions' thread came in for use, it certainly makes it all worthwhile!
Truly glorious work, Mike. Looks like both Alberta and Denver have to get moved up my travel dance card a few more notches. What is the actual size of the panels?

I'm enthusiastic to hear that TONMO was so useful for Mike when he was making these scenes. The name Dinosaur Park conjured the image of an amusement park but this work tells us that it's even more interesting.
Hi All,

Thanks for all the nice comments, apologies for not having replied sooner, but have been tied up with a current mural project and was away for the Dinosaur Prov. Park opening.

Kevin, D.Whatley, Monty, Sorseress

Glad to hear my imagery "rings true" and aligns with your ideas and thoughts concerning extinct cephalopods.
In researching the artwork I found a number of points of interest at the TONMO site that helped in my initial understanding of ammonite form and function.


Actually, I do fit in commission work for individual collectors between contracts with natural history museums, publishers, etc. . . ( although my waiting list is usually 6 months to a year ). If however, something like this might be of interest to yourself or anyone else here, I would be happy to discuss details further offlist.


The original painting with the pair of plesiosaurs is about 18" x 24", the installed reproduction is doubled in size. The other image with Acanthoceras is an inset portion, appox 6" x 8" of a larger panel measuring 24" x 30". The enlarged reproduction will be about 5 x 6 feet on mylar, mounted in a lightbox. I've only posted the detail with the ammonites, until the entire image is mounted in the Dinosaur Ridge exhibit, after which I can post the whole painting.


Dinosaur Prov. Park is a World Heritage Site and is a spectacular array of badland exposures running along 21miles of the Red Deer River here in Alberta. It is also the richest site for upper Cretaceous diinosaur skeletons in North America and is only rivalled elsewhere by deposits in Outer Mongolia. Many natural history museums have specimens from this locality on display that have been excavated here during the last 100 years.
Apart from the fossil material, the landscape is amazing and almost alien in some areas of the Park, and also home to a diverse fauna of modern wildlife ( and prickly pear cactus. . . ouch !! ).


I've had few opportunities previously to work on marine environment restorations ( working mostly on dinosaurs and other terrestrial fauna ), so appreciate that you get that "underwater" feel from it. I'm hoping to work on more paleo marine paintings in future, as time permits.


Mike S.

Shop Amazon

Shop Amazon
Shop Amazon; support TONMO!
Shop Amazon
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon and affiliated sites.