Saturday, March 27, 2010
Communicating science; just do it
If any of you have any links to other interesting projects, please post them here. There is also a new podcast on dinosaurs... unfortunately, I've lost the blog it was at. Anyone?
Pachyrhinosaurus, circa 1950
Look, everybody! When Charles Sternberg described Pachyrhinosaurus canadensis in 1950, he made an adorable 1/6th scale clay model of the critter. This is that, and I think it looks like a Protoceratops with a handy plate on its nose to put your drink. I imagine this animal sitting by your recliner, dutifully holding your Mt. Dew while you play games and watch TV.
But seriously, this is quite significant in that it's the first attempt to reconstruct this bizarre ceratopsian.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
As many of you may (or may not) know I am the principle force behind Traumador the Tyrannosaur and his ongoing blog. Lately I've fallen behind on getting the little guy's (mis)adventures up, due to creating tons of new 3D art for his upcoming Dinosaur Winter Olympics.
Among this new art is a complete redo on Traum's love interest, the lovely Lillian the Albertosaur. It is in reconstructing Lillian I've hit my problem, and I need your opinion!
You can check out the full story (along with references) here on my blog. In a nutshell though my problem is this, Lillian was originally based on a popular sculpture of an Albertosaur by Brian Cooley. Of course recreating my own posable and virtual Lillian resulted in a drastic departure between the two. My revamp this weekend making the difference is even more extreme.
Does this defeat the purpose of my paying tribute to a childhood favourite piece of art? Or is it okay I've taken my own direction with the concept, as my Lillian's adventures are not supposed to directly link to the statue?
Please let me know your thoughts either in the comment section here or on my blog.
Also a quick plug for am upcoming Traum adventure that will be nothing more than a huge series of Palaeo-art posts! The 2010 Dinosaur Winter Games.
Yes, I know they are a bit late. I tried my best to get them up as soon as possible. However the amount of 3D prep work needed was huge. Added to this I've been in the middle of my third move in 4 months!
Please don't let their being a month late take away from the Olympic spirit intended. So please check them out this week, and cheer for your favourite team (representing 5 different regions)!
Monday, March 15, 2010
Miga, for the uninitiated, was an Olympic mascot here in Vancouver - part bear and part orca. I assume it is the orca that Billy, the made-up child in this real-life situation, is relating ichthyosaurs to. Dolphins, whales, fish, orca - ARE ichthyosaurs so similar? Or, like Miga, more of a mix of creatures?
Or are we just imposing our understanding of extant animals upon extinct ones? What did ichthyosaurs look like?
With these beautiful aquatic reptiles being the focus of ART Evolved's next Gallery, I thought we should begin discussing how exactly they should be reconstructed. What are the current controversies palaeo-artists are dealing with when restoring ichthyosaurs from fossil to flesh?
Darren Naish (at Tetrapod Zoology) recently (Sept. 2008) discussed a few of the assumptions we make when we think of what ichthyosaurs look like and how they behave. Did they really have dorsal fins? How much of our knowledge of ichthyosaur body shape was faked by unscrupulous preparators? Most aquatic swimmers (fish, dolphins) have a dorsal fin, two pectoral fins and a powerful tail. Why did ichthyosaurs retain their two hind-fins? In an older article, Naish ponders the question: Did they use their pectoral fins and "fly" underwater?
There are also a few questions I'd like to ask here, confronting the traditional view about ichthyosaurs:
1) Was their skin slick and smooth like a dolphin, or bumpy and scaly like a monitor lizard?
2) Did they eat only squid and ammonites?
3) Did all genus of ichthyosaur reproduce through live birth?
4) Did they partake in cannibalistic behavior?
5) What did the huge Shonisaurs eat?
6) Could I have ridden one?
7) Isn't there an easier way to spell "ichthyosaur?" Maybe with less h's?
I am hoping that some of our readers might have some insight into the World of Ichthyosaurs! Help us reconstruct more accurate creatures! Speak up! We won't bite! ...much!
And to get our collective ichthyosaur brains working, watch this They Might Be Giants "Nine Bowls of Soup," staring Mr. Ichthyosaur...
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Life; nostalgic window on evolution
Some fantastically modern artwork from 1959. Use the contents drop-down menu to go the the “Where Evolution Stands Today” article. Check out the ads along the way. I adore the way that evolution is embraced by this popular magazine and - yeah, feel nostalgic.
Note: cross-posted from my blog because this is just too cool.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
The Therizinosaur Gallery
The creature seems to have had an identity crisis in the world of palaeontology but the most recent stuff I found suggested feathers and stiff hair type structures so that's what I went with. My actual aim was to build an evolution of Therizinosaurs in palaeontology of which this would be one of the end members!
Therizinosaurus 2000 by David Tana
An early attempt at reconstructing Therizinosaurus (Late Cretaceous Period, China), using only pencil and paper.
Therizinosaurus cheloniformis 2010 by David Tana
Reconstruction of Therizinosaurus cheloniformis from the Late Cretaceous Period of Mongolia, China. Digital scan of pencil on paper.
Therizinosaur by Craig Dylke