So I’ve gone on and on about all this boring stuff about writing papers and my personal experience and analysis and what not. But you probably want to know about Banguela oberlii, the pterosaur.
Let’s talk about what the paper says: Continue reading
The life of a pterosaur cannot be easy. Most occur in places where there is always a larger predator; even the giants Quetzalcoatlus and Hatzegopterus may have co-occurred with other predators that would have seen them as food. From hatching to growth and eventually the necessary act of breeding – to pass one one’s genetic legacy, a primal, incomprehensible need – the pterosaur marches inexorably to death, changing the world as it goes.
Dr. Toni Bürgin of the Naturmuseum St. Gallen and Hr. Urs Oberli, of Switzerland, together holding the holotype of Banguela oberlii. Very delicately, as the specimen is in two pieces. It is easy to see how actually large this pterosaur’s jaw is, and it would have rivaled the sizes of many other Santana pterosaurs.
In my last post, I introduced Banguela oberlii, a new, toothless dsungaripterid pterosaur.
Banguela oberlii, ©2013 Sergey Krasovskiy, used with permission.
A foggy morning. Water laps gently on a rocky shore, a rhythmic sound accompanying the gentle hum of insects. Mist hugs the forest margin, creeping along the ground; it shrinks back as the heat of the rising sun burns away the last remnants of night. From the fog steps a bizarre sight: a long legged, quadrupedal animal, the forelimbs are huge, a long spar folded against the arm and projecting upwards. At the end of a short, thick neck is a large head, surmounted by round crest. The head ends in a narrow point, and the tip of the jaws curve upwards. The edges of the jaw gleam in the light, the beak extends along the length of the mouth – there are no teeth.
Shrink-wrapping is a process by which a thin film is stretched taut over an object. The closer the film to the object, the tighter the two conform. The term applies the same way when it comes to paleontological reconstruction of formerly living animals. It generally only applies to how thin the skin is, which reveals the underlying tissues in some detail.
The question of paleontology is that: Should you shrink-wrap your fossil animal reconstructions? The answer to this is trickier than it might seem at first. Really, the answer is yes and no. Below I will explain why.
Look at the surface of an animal, you will see what the animal looks like. Look beneath the surface, you will see why it looks that way. I’ve done a few musculature studies of fossil animals over the years, and these have been useful as both self-teaching method (to learn anatomy and muscle tone and art style) and also a way to show the differences between animals. I’ve not done a large variety, though. I have archosaurs, but of them there are no birds (egregious!) and even then, it’s “archosaurs” only so far as theropods, an ornithischian, and a croc. I need to expand my repertoire. That said, here’s what I’ve done.
Muscle studies for archosaurs. At top, Hexinlusaurus multidens He & Cai, 1983, Terrestrisuchus gracilis Crush, 1984, Shuvuuia deserti Chiappe, Norell & Clark, 1998, Rinchenia mongoliensis Barsbold, 1986, and at bottom a generic “segnosaur” or therizinosaurid.
Posted in Art, Paleobiology, Paleontology, Reconstruction
Tagged Alvarezsaurs, Archosaurs, Crurotarsans, Dinsoaurs, muscle study, Ornithischians, Ornithopods, Oviraptorids, Restoration and Reconstruction, Therizinosauroids, Theropods
Yesterday — on April 1st, which is about as warning bells as they come — I uploaded a post with a host of new art. This post is as much an admission that that post, somewhat subtly, is a joke. Well, sorta.
You see, it was my intention to use a little parody to poke at how fossils become reconstructed into living animals, the degrees to which some will validate a theory no matter how tenuous the claim is. Comparisons to this include, but aren’t limited to, the “always snarling” theropod, pterosaurs whose wing membranes look exactly as they had died, that the body outline of a flattened animal reflects that animal’s true outline, etc. (I could also say it extends to putting cheeks on dinosaurs or giving theropods croc faces, but I do that so often.) So I’ve annotated the post, shown below, to expose what I’m really thinking here.