06 4 / 2014

rhamphotheca:

Controversies From the World of Ratite and Tinamou Evolution

by Darren Naish

As blasphemous and offensive as it seems to say it, birds are pretty samey. Generally speaking, they’re small flying things with long forelimbs, proportionally large heads with big, globular braincases, and grasping feet where an enlarged first toe (the hallux) opposes the remaining three. A shape like this was – so both the fossil record and inferences made from cladograms show us – ancestral for modern birds, so any bird that deviates from it is weird indeed.

Cue ratites. Gigantic, long-legged, flightless birds with proportionally small heads, short, ridiculously short, or absent wings, they are the closest that any bird group comes to recapturing the body form (and presumably lifestyle) of non-bird dinosaurs.

Conventionally, the term ‘ratite’ is used for the kiwi-emu-rhea-ostrich clade (even though it always feels a bit weird to regard kiwi as ratites). The 11 or so recently extinct moa of New Zealand and the also recently extinct elephant birds or aepyornithids of Madagascar are also clearly members of this group, and then there are a handful of fossil groups as well.

But there’s another modern group we have to consider here: the tinamous of South, Central and southern North America. All 40 or so species are small compared to ratites, capable of flight, and superficially galliform-like. They lack the anatomical specialisations that make ratites so remarkable, like an unkeeled, raft-like sternum, reduced, atrophied or absent forelimbs, proportionally long legs and neck, loose, ‘decomposed’ plumage, and so on…

(read more: Tetrapod Zoology - Scientific American)

top illustration and bttm photos by D. Naish

(via scientificillustration)

05 4 / 2014

rhamphotheca:

The Trouble With Turtles: Paleontology at a Crossroads

Scientists debate whether modern turtles are more closely related to snakes and lizards or birds and crocodiles.

by Naomi Lubick

Traditional paleontological research has been upended over the past few decades, as less traditional fields, such as genomics and developmental biology, have weighed in on vertebrate evolution. Researchers have examined the lingering color elements in dinosaur feathers, the genetics of woolly mammoths, purported proteins and blood from dinosaurs, and other ancient fossil signatures using modern tools. But the question of turtle evolution has remained resistant to both traditional and novel methods.

More than 300 species of turtles exist today, but where they came from isn’t entirely clear. Turtles are the last big living vertebrate group to be placed firmly on the tree of life, and the arguments are getting messy. Three fields in particular — paleontology, developmental biology and microbiology/genomics — disagree about how, and from what, turtles may have evolved.

Traditional paleontologists have placed turtles, which are indisputably reptiles, in relation to a group of mostly extinct reptilian animals called anapsids, which don’t have holes in their skulls; however, analyses in the 1990s put turtles in the diapsid camp, which originally had two holes in their skulls, and closer to modern reptiles like snakes. Morphology places them near the group made up of lizards and birds and crocodiles…

(read more: EARTH Magazine)

images: T - Kathleen Cantner, AGI.; Bottom 3 - Tyler Lyson, NMNH

05 4 / 2014

Sketched and took some notes for my next prehistoric book at the Museum of Natural History

Sketched and took some notes for my next prehistoric book at the Museum of Natural History

29 3 / 2014

I just really like what Matthew Colling’s has to say about contemporary fine art education. It’s very funny.

25 3 / 2014

natebear:

"I want to, but I can’t die. In other words, I can’t bring myself to die. I don’t know what I’ve been doing with my life all these years."

Ikiru (1952)

Queue this up on the Netflix of my imagination. Woo woo.

I love Ikiru. I feel it accurately represents the existential turmoil your mind goes through when you realize you’re going to die. (Sorry for being so dark, but it’s true)

(Source: jamesbadgedale)

05 3 / 2014

Practicing drawing reptiles for my next prehistoric book, the carboniferous

Practicing drawing reptiles for my next prehistoric book, the carboniferous

25 2 / 2014

"ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONISM
A skilless form of “art” in which people carelessly slap shitty brushstrokes and color together in a random fashion. Abstract expressionists would have you believe that there is some sort of deeper meaning to their “paintings” than just a ridiculous decadence of actual art (which there isn’t)."

Found this definition of abstract expressionism on urbandictionary.com .It make me chuckle, not just because of the definition, but also because I didn’t expect urbandictionary.com to have a definition for an art movement….I should print out that web page and submit it as a piece of conceptual art.

24 2 / 2014

natebear:

drawingforsuckas:

Disney’s Comics kit. Enjoy!

I certainly violate all these guidelines… But I’m working on it.

A teacher for a class I took actually gave us the first three pages of this kit…it’s interesting even if you’re not interested in doing Disney comics

24 2 / 2014

crofesima:

Favourite animators: Yutaka Nakamura (中村豊)

Learn/watch more:

I do like cool animated fight scenes :)

(via kristaferanka)

22 2 / 2014

2 pages from my four page comic for comic anthology “three armed squid”. Just need to scan, add some grey and word ballons

2 pages from my four page comic for comic anthology “three armed squid”. Just need to scan, add some grey and word ballons