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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Nyctosaurus

For those who don't know, this is the rather spectacular crested Nyctosaurus—a medium-sized pterosaur from the Late Cretaceous. I did picture of this pair a few years back where I put sails on them, to go with the skim-sailing hypothesis that was so hot right then. It's not so hot right now, so this is an un-sailed version (which is based on an old painting I did at the same time, but never uploaded anywhere). I've extended the rear-facing prong somewhat, as it seems there were extra bits that weren't obvious in the original description.

Permalink at Palaeontography

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Nemicolopterus crypticus

Aw, what a tweet liddle tweedy bird! I want to snuglylumphs it all up!

The superb little pterosaur Nemicolopterus crypticus, in the trees, like all the restorations out there (hey, at least I went for something other than a ginko!). Based on my skeletal.


Permalink at Palaeontography

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Science is Boring

You know, with the whole annoying "science is fun kids!" bullshite going on, it's nice to see this: science is a boring (and possibly a waste of your life):


Expert On Anteaters Wasted Entire Life Studying Anteaters

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Nemicolopterus crypticus Skeletal

A preliminary skeletal of the new (and absolutely tiny) pterosaur Nemicolopterus crypticus. This was done from the not-very-high-resolution photographs and drawings in the description, so I do stress that it is preliminary.

White indicates bones present and restorable, light grey indicates bones that are present but I had to pretty my make up (because they are badly crushed, partially obscured by other bones, etc.) and dark grey missing elements. Stipples indicate air sacs. Gotta say, this is one cool looking little beasty. Really birdlike.

References:
Wang et al., 2008. Discovery of a rare arboreal forest-dwelling flying reptile (Pterosauria, Pterodactyloidea) from China. PNAS vol. 105 (6) pp. 1983-1987


Permalink at Palaeontography

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Tropeognathus mesembrinus

Nemo Ramjet commented that a lot of my pterosaur pictures look like those classic paintings of WW2 fighters. So I decided to go the whole hog! Anyway, the pterosaur is Tropeognathus mesembrinus, with the body modeled on Anhanguera. I've gone with my more customary "Cunningham" membrane configuration, which looks pretty sweet on these guys.

Permalink at Palaeontography

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Comparitive Forelimb Muscle Attachments - Ventral

The ventral forelimb muscle attachment sites in crocodylians, Anhanguera, and a corvid. The attachments in Anhanguera are inferred from muscle scars, and comparison with crocodylians and birds.

  • Bennett, S. C., 2003. Morphological evolution of the pectoral girdle of pterosaurs myology and function, in Buffetaut, E., and Mazin, J-M. (eds) 2003, Evolution and Palaeobiology of Pterosaurs, geological society of London, 2003 217 pp. 191-215
  • Hudson, E. H., Lanzillotti P. J., 1955. Gross anatomy of the wing muscles in the family Corvidae, The American Midland Naturalist, 53:1 pp. 1-44
  • Meers, M. B., 2003. Crocodylian forelimb musculature and its relevance to the Archosauria, The Anatomica Record, Part A

Comparitive Forelimb Muscle Attachments - Dorsal

The dorsal forelimb muscle attachment sites in crocodylians, Anhanguera, and a corvid. The attachments in Anhanguera are inferred from muscle scars, and comparison with crocodylians and birds.

  • Bennett, S. C., 2003. Morphological evolution of the pectoral girdle of pterosaurs myology and function, in Buffetaut, E., and Mazin, J-M. (eds) 2003, Evolution and Palaeobiology of Pterosaurs, geological society of London, 2003 217 pp. 191-215
  • Hudson, E. H., Lanzillotti P. J., 1955. Gross anatomy of the wing muscles in the family Corvidae, The American Midland Naturalist, 53:1 pp. 1-44
  • Meers, M. B., 2003. Crocodylian forelimb musculature and its relevance to the Archosauria, The Anatomica Record, Part A

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Structure of a Pterosaur


Here's something I've been working on for quite some time: a multi-layered diagram of all the structural elements of a pterosaur - basically, the things that give them their shape.

You can find the full version, with a still image, an interactive version, and a higher-res video at palaeontography.

It's also up at YouTube, if you want to vote for it, or whatever people do on YouTube.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Compsognathus longipes

This is a digital re-working of a fairly old picture of mine: Compsognathus longipes feeding on a dead fish it has found on a Solnhofen beach.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

The disastrous pop-culture image of Velociraptor

In doing a quick search for Velociraptor images today, I came across something disturbing: the entire first page of google results (with one exception of a Todd Marshall painting) are complete rubbish. They look nothing like what we know of Velociraptor's true appearance from fossil evidence and careful study.

Who cares? I do! A more accurate feel for the appearance of prehistoric animals gives us all a better appreciation of evolution and biodiversity, and is just plain more interesting than the silly pop-culture image.

The real Velociraptor was a very birdlike animal not much bigger than a turkey. Perhaps it looked something like my drawing above, or maybe like one of the these excellent restorations at Scott Hartman's SkeletalDrawing.com.

If you want to help give Velociraptor its rightful image in pop-culture, participate in "link-to-an-accurate-Velociraptor day". Simply link to your favourite V. image or page using the word "Velociraptor" in your journal , website or blog, and help bring the popular image of V. (and by extension prehistoric animals) more into line with the science.

Here's a few links to accurate restorations (there are surprisingly few, in my opinion):

Velociraptor by Matt Martynuik,
Velociraptor , and Velociraptor and Protoceratops by yours truly,
Velociraptor by Mike Keesey,
Velociraptor, Velociraptor and Velociraptor by Alain Beneteau, and
Velociraptor by Demetrios Vital.