Written by Ashley Medrano, Student Assistant, Rutgers Geology
Before artist Jeanne Filler Scott was an internationally recognized equine and wildlife artist, she was an art student at Rutgers University (class of 1977). As a frequent visitor of the Rutgers Geology Museum, Jeanne credits much of her artistic growth to the work of an artist named Alfred Poledo, whose paintings used to hang on the upper balcony of the Geology Museum. During one of her visits to the Museum in 1976, Jeanne was approached by the Geology Museum's former curator, William Selden, to create an oil painting of an extinct marine reptile called a mosasaur, which lived over 65 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous Period. Mosasaurs were relatives of lizards and snakes and were the dominant marine predators of their time. They could grow up to an estimated 50 feet in length and preyed on ammonites, fish, and even smaller mosasaurs.
Having always been interested in dinosaurs and prehistoric creatures, Jeanne was thrilled with this idea and began the process of returning life to the extinct sea creature. William provided reference photos of fossilized mosasaurs, but the closest living relatives of the mosasaur, reptiles, heavily influenced her initial sketches for the project. It took several attempts to craft the perfect image that matched both of their visions and the painting was completed in 1977 where it has been on display in the Geology Museum ever since.
Jeanne recently reconnected with the Geology Museum and graciously offered to repair the damage that the painting had sustained over the years. It is currently being restored to its former glory and will be unveiled at our 150th Anniversary Event on Thursday, December 15th. This event will include the unveiling of the newly restored painting, a meet and greet with the artist, a guest lecture about the science and anatomy of mosasaurs, and refreshments. This fundraising event is open to the public. Please visit the event webpage for more information and to register.