Saturday, March 27, 2010

Communicating science; just do it

I'm not sure how to insert youtube links here, so I point to my blog to see some videos put out by two science institutions to the internet, then Craig's Traumador internet series (I'll call it that) and an interview with Scott Sampson. I think there's a lot more potential for artists to assist scientists in communicating science than is currently being tapped, and these media releases all confirm this idea. Feedback?
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

Revamp Conundrum

I know it is a little off the topic of our upcoming Ichthyosaur gallery, but I have an immediate artistic problem that needs your help!

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

Reconstructing Ichthyosaurs

Welcome to Grade 1:
"Alright students, what does an ichthyosaur look like?" 
"They look like dolphins!"  "Whales, like whales!"  "Yeah FISH!!!"  "SHAAARKS!"  "Ooo ooo, Mr. Bond, oooo???!"
"Yes, Billy?"
"Miga!  They look like Miga!"  "YEAH!!! MIGA!!!"  "MIGAMIGAMIGAAAAA!!!!"
"Settle down CHILDREN! CHILDREN! Ugh..."

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


When I say "Therapod" what pops into your mind?  A sharp-toothed, fleet-footed, flesh-eating monster of a dinosaur, right?  Tyrannosaurs, spinosaurs, raptors... But what about a squat, tiny-headed, long-necked, plant-eater? These plant-eating therapods are known to the world as Therizinosaurs - named 'scythe lizard' on account of their abnormally large claws on their hands.

This family of dinosaurs (Therizinosauridae), previously know as Segnosaurs, has a strange and convoluted history of discovery, with palaeontologists at times calling them "turtle-like lizards," prosauropods, and carnivorous reptiles.  It wasn't until the discovery of similar genus' in the 80's and 90's, that Therizinosaurs were finally classified as advanced herviborous maniraptorian theropods.

Recreating an animal so recently reinterpreted takes skill, research, and time.  The wonderful results from this process are collected below - a Time Capsule full of Therizinosaurs, recreated in glorious pencil, paint, and pixels!  To participate in this and future Time Capsules, all you need to do is send your image to  It's not too late to join in the fun!

So without further ado, welcome to ART Evolved's Therizinosaur Gallery! Click to enlarge them!

 A Brief Look at Therizinosaur Reconstructions through the Years by Tricia Arnold

Alxasaurus by Luis Perez

Beipiaosaurus by Luis Perez

Erliansaurus by Luis Perez

Erlikosaurus by Luis Perez

Falcarius by Luis Perez

 Nanshiungosaurus by Luis Perez

 Segnosaurus by Luis Perez

Nothronychus by Luis Perez

 Nothronychus mckinleyi in graphite pencil by Mo Hassan


 Therizinosaurus by Brett Booth

 Therizinosaurus by Luis Perez


 Therizinosaurus by Luis Perez

Therizinosaur (aka Chickenosaur!) by Rachael Revelle

A4 lino print - Produced as a live blog and documented on my blogsite 'Drawn In Time'.

Therizinosaurus: a creature from Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal by Sarah Snell-Pym

I started off by looking at creatures I thought had similar features or habitat niches to the Therizinosaurs and then drew a 'shape' outline from a skeletal representation p199 of Vertebrate Palaeontology 2nd Edition.

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!

Therizinosaur by Anthony Contoleon

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

 Giant Claw by Matthew Tames

  Here is a scene of a pair of Therizinosaurs protecting their nest.

Therizinosaurus cheloniformis Feeding on Ginkgo by John Meszaros

The geometrical stone structures in the background is a columnar basalt formation such as can be found at the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland or the Devil's Postpile in California.

A Slap in the Face by Peter Bond

A Therizinosaurus cheloniformis repells an attack by a passing Alioramus remotus on a floodplain in Mongolia, 70-65 million years ago. I wanted to illustrate one of the less-shown uses of those giant claws. Hopefully the Alioramus can afford the facial reconstruction surgery!

Therizinosaurine! by Peter Bond

Maniraptors: Therizinosauria by Albertonykus

(From shortest to longest: Beipiaosaurus inexpecticus, Falcarius utahensis, and Therizinosaurus cheloniformis.)    The therizinosaurs were a group of strange-looking maniraptors. This caused a lot of confusion in the past. For example, some therizinosaurs (then known as segnosaurs) were thought to be prosauropods (basically all the sauropodomorphs besides the giant four-legged sauropods). It was a while before the segnosaurs and therizinosaurs were recognized as the same group within maniraptor theropods. Therizinosaurs had gigantic claws, but their tiny heads and teeth suggest they were plant eaters. To be fair, they aren't the only plant-eating theropods ([link]), but few other theropods show such extreme herbivory.

 Therizinosaurus by Jared Needle

From a 13 (or 12) inch square of double MC tissue paper, violet/orange.  

Still in progress after two months. It has literally been standing like that for a month straight before I photographed it today.

It's obviously missing a head. I've gone through at least a dozen attempts over the last month, and still have yet to design a satisfactory head. (I also haven't had time to work on it.) I am extremely happy with the rest of it. It came out perfect. It just needs a good head.

We hope you enjoyed that look at all things Therizinosaurs!  Great job, everyone!  The new poll is up on the right sidebar, so be sure to vote for July's Time Capsule (wouldn't you just LOVE to draw ferns?! Erm...)

As for the next Gallery, the winner of that poll is ... ICHTHYOSAURS!

So be sure to submit your Ichthyosaur by May 1st 2010!   To participate in an ART Evolved Gallery, send your art along with a title and a small description to We accept art from anybody and everybody!