Sunday 9 October 2011

Long Time.....No Speak......

Having struggled for the longest time to make a crust in palaeontological illustration, I have to confess, it hasn't worked. Maybe I'm doing the wrong thing at the wrong time, maybe I'm just not shmoosing the right people at the right time, maybe not being as digitally literate as I should a funny world. So, if your not heavy in the world of Irish politics (and the demise of the Irish Post......) Look Here to see what LIFE is all about.....

Tuesday 2 March 2010

A weak premise.....

Yesterday was the day of St.David, patron saint of Wales, and having links with the Principality, some strong, some tenuous, it seems appropriate to mark the event with this impression of Grallator, a Coelophysis-like inhabitant of Barry island, near Cardiff, from the late Triassic. The beast was identified, or should that be surmised, from a series of tracks that included Prosauropod and other Archosaur prints, possibly the best fossil trackways yet discovered in the UK. Unfortunately the site of the find was badly neglected, the trace fossils were substantially vandalised and the best of the remainder taken into protective custody. Similar tracks were found in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Tuesday 23 February 2010

Lazarus Taxon....

Occasionally species turn up in the fossil record, or in deed alive - think Coelocanth - that simply shouldn't be there, that should have died out like the rest of their kin thousands or millions of years before their time. It is generally supposed that the end came for Dicynodonts in the Norian era of the Triassic, some 210 - 225 mya. In 1915, however, some fossil bone fragments were unearthed in Early Cretaceous rocks of N. Queensland, Australia which may indicate this was not the case. The most significant of these finds was was a piece of upper jaw bearing the stump of a tusk ( see below) identical to that of a Dicynodont. In 2003 the finds were reappraised by Dr. Tony Thulborn and Dr. Susan Turner from Monash University in Melbourne and declared to be definitely from a Dicynodont, but some 105 million years younger than it's nearest known contemporary. My reconstruction must be viewed as highly speculative with so little information to go on, but should reflect most of the salient features of the beast - probably. As far as I know it is still un-named and goes by the enigmatic label QMF.15.990. It would have been about 2m long.

Wednesday 17 February 2010

Why Blog......

OK, so I'm new to this bloggin' business, but I'm already having a crisis of confidence over the appropriateness of the format. I read Tetrapod Zoology, Theropoda, Dave Hone's Arcosauria Musings and their ilk avidly, there's rafts of information, new and reappraised, to impart and absorb, cross questions to negotiate and opinions to disseminate - lively forums of discussion. As an illustrator, as a 'paleoartist', this feels uncomfortably on the level of vanity publishing, ego-stroking - a look at me, aren't I clever - showcase. OK in the back of my mind lurks the wish that publishers and palaeontologists will suddenly discover me and recognise my worth....but then you have to be doing what publishers want to see.....

Anyway, what the hell, press on....Appropriateness - I've long been fascinated by the curiosities of the Australian fauna ( I have a signed copy of David Fleay's 'Paradoxical Platypus' - but then, maybe he signed them all ), and to celebrate Australia Day - which was only three weeks ago, sorry - I'm posting a set of drawings of the Platypus. These were prepared about a decade ago, the idea being to publish monographs of individual species, much in the way that Profile Publications did for airheads and petrolheads all those years ago. There are no live Platypii in the UK, so these were drawn from museum exhibits ( Booth's Museum in Brighton were particularly helpful ), videos of live animals and published material. As is the way of these things, the project was never completed. There will be more - Procoptodon, Thylacoleo and the enigmatic QMF.15.990.....Watch this space, if you can be arsed....J

Male standing, showing rolled membrane on one forepaw.

Female swimming.

Anatomical details, lactating organs, reproductive organs, typical burrow.

Progressive development of juvenile, female in nest burrow with eggs and young.

Colour renditions, ink and pencil drawings.

Saturday 13 February 2010

Day of Love and Loss

Unashamedly, to mark the day of Love and Loss, I post a couple of tetrapod angles on St. Valentine's Day. If I could back it with Tom Waite's 'Blue Valentine', then so I would, as it is, just hum, or put your lips together and blow. J

Friday 5 February 2010

Anchiornis Serendipity

With apologies, an unfinished drawing.....this was in preparation as an entry for Draw a Dino day, but the combined pressures of earning a crust and moving home meant it was to remain unfinished by the due date and was set aside - like too much else in my life. But today, just a few minutes ago, I cast an eye over Andrea Cau's Theropoda blog and lo! there stood MY Anchiornis, well almost......maybe this time it will be finished....but first I have just a few things to do......

Tuesday 2 February 2010

Wyoming's Cretaceous Park

...A Tyrannosaur is held at bay by the keepers from the Trike crew, giving a small flock of Parasaurolophus time to flee through the tree ferns, disturbing a couple of dromaeosaurids in the process of dispatching a hypsilophodontid on the edge of the boating lake....another busy day here in Wyoming's Cretaceous Park.......pencil drawing, about 2001 (I think).....