Today I bring you the next installment of my ongoing Palaeo-art adventure...
Flukes go on Whales... NOT in your Art!
Previously on Flukes, I'd decided to attempt a restoration of a Prehistoric Whale for use by New Zealand Palaeontologist Dr. Ewan Fordyce. I started on this mission without asking Dr. Fordyce if he wanted any such art. I'd also dove in without much idea of what a Shark Toothed Dolphin looked like or how they were put together...
Giving me this initial version of such a beast.
Looking at it right now, I can't believe I actually showed this to Dr. Fordyce thinking he'd be even slightly impressed. That alone wish me to create anything for him. Fortunately for my sake he is a very kind man, and humoured this my first (but not last) botched attempt.
I knew that the dolphin's head was the weak link, but I had hoped that the post cranial 3Ding would save me. The body for the most part, except the Dorsal fin, didn't make Dr. Fordyce's attention at all. All we talked about was the skull, and how utterly I'd gotten it wrong!
Again I hadn't referenced any material what so ever, and tried to go off my fleeting memories of the Sharked Toothed Dolphin skulls I'd seen in New Zealand museums. Sadly it showed. A lot!
Due to its being easily accessed and photographed, I snapped about 20 pictures of this skull here (skull C from my last articles skull challenge). Not because Dr. Fordyce wanted a reconstruction of this particular animal mind you. Rather it was the easiest for me to access on that day from the University of Otago's collections. This would lead to some minor problems with the second take on the Dolphin.
Despite the fact it is quite amateurish, the shift toward accuracy helped Dr. Fordyce take me more serious on my offer of creating a reconstruction for him. If I had to venture, though he is far too much a gentleman to have said it out loud, Dr. Fordyce thought I had nothing to offer with my first version. I don't blame him.
This new version showed I could take criticism and feedback, and fix my restoration. Granted not all at once like a pro... However Dr. Fordyce didn't give up on me, and welcomed a third take.
I even took this second edition of the whale and created a very quick and rough "scene" to show that the model could be used in a number of contexts. This intrigued Dr. Fordyce somewhat. Though the whales themselves didn't.
Understandably, Dr. Fordyce, while encouraging of my improvements, was not entirely es tactic about my products. Don't get me wrong, Dr. Fordyce has been nothing but supportive of me in these efforts. If anything he has been overly patient, and honestly the one at fault has been me with my crappy whales...
At least I write this observation in hindsight. The art did get better (I save this for Part: 3 and 4).
One of the big changes in direction that Dr. Fordyce requested was that I model my whale on this skull here.
For those of you who partook in my skull ID challenge last post, this is skull B. Oddly no one guessed it. Skull C, the challenge favourite, though not formally the subject of current restoration project, did play a key role in my early efforts (as already mention). I used Skull C in my flukes banner simply due to having better photographs of it. Skull B is so much larger I have not been able to pull it out for a good photography session... yet hopefully.
Though both skulls are similar, there are still quite a few subtle differences. Some of which I've only managed to correct in my model this month!A slightly different view of the skull (well actually a cast). Though I've seen the skull (or cast of it) in 3 museums across New Zealand (it is on permanent display in 2 of these), the skull is undescribed and the animal does not have a proper name as of yet.
It seems at moment highly likely this animal is a species of the genus Squalodon, but if not then it is definitely a part of the Squalodontidae family. However the point is at moment it is not current recognized by science, but odds are good that Dr. Fordyce will at some point will be doing a formal study and description of it.
Meaning I have a chance of him considering the use of one or more of my restorations with such a description. That is if I can get my Dolphin correct. So we enter into take: 3.