Friday, 27 June 2008

Art #3: Three Thyreophorans



"Three Thyreophorans"
Coloured pencil illustration, June 2008
Adapted from Luis Rey's illustrations in Dinosaurs: The Most Complete, Up-To-Date Encyclopedia for Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages

Top left: Scelidosaurus harrisonii Owen, 1861
Scelidosauridae; Thyreophora; Ornithischia; Sauropsida; Chordata
From Early Jurassic England & U.S.A.

Top right: Edmontonia longiceps Sternberg, 1928
Nodosauridae; Ankylosauria; Thyreophora; Ornithischia; Sauropsida; Chordata
From Late Cretaceous North America

Bottom: Huayangosaurus taibaii Dong, Tang & Zhou, 1982
Huayangosauridae; Stegosauria; Thyreophora; Ornithischia; Sauropsida; Chordata
From Middle Jurassic China

Wow... spiky spiky spiky. Quite fun to draw and colour actually.

A little explanation of the thyreophorans: this is a group of ornithischian (bird-hipped) dinosaurs that were exclusively plant-eating (as far as we can tell). There were two main groups: the Stegosauria consisting of the well known Stegosaurus and its relatives, all with plated backs and some with unusual spikes on their shoulders and hips; and the Ankylosauria, being the much more heavily armoured "tanks", some with clubbed tails that could (and did) crack bone. But the Scelidosaurus and its relatives Scutellosaurus and Emausaurus didn't quite fit in with either of these two groups, despite clearly being thyreophorans. They may have been ancestral to the more derived stegosaurians and ankylosaurians.

Art #2: Three Sauropodomorphs




"Three Sauropodomorphs"
Coloured pencil illustration, June 2008
Adapted from Luis Rey's illustrations in Dinosaurs: The Most Complete, Up-To-Date Encyclopedia for Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages

Top: Plateosaurus engelhardti von Meyer, 1837
Plateosauridae; Prosauropoda; Sauropodomorpha; Saurischia; Sauropsida; Chordata
From Late Triassic Germany

Middle: Apatosaurus ajax Marsh, 1877
Diplodocidae; Sauropoda; Sauropodomorpha; Saurischia; Sauropsida; Chordata
From Late Jurassic U.S.A.

Bottom: Brachiosaurus altithorax Riggs, 1903
Brachiosauridae; Sauropoda; Sauropodomorpha; Saurischia; Sauropsida; Chordata
From Late Jurassic/Early Cretaceous U.S.A.

Unlike the animals represented in the "Four Theropods" artwork, these three beasts have been known for over a century and represent (apart from Diplodocus, a close relative of Apatosaurus) the best known sauropodomorphs (the name for the group that includes both sauropods and prosauropods - "long-necked dinosaurs").

Apatosaurus
is often colloquially (but incorrectly) known as Brontosaurus. This name is considered invalid due to the fact that Apatosaurus is the earlier name, despite the fact that Brontosaurus' name is more widely known. Also, I know the colours on Apatosaurus are a bit fanciful, but I couldn't resist drawing a pink dinosaur!

Next instalment... thyreophorans (the spiky ones)! 

Monday, 23 June 2008

Photo of the Day #12: Resplendent Quetzal



Male resplendent quetzal (stuffed mounted specimen)
Pharomachrus mocinno De la Llave, 1832
Trogonidae; Trogoniformes; Aves; Chordata
Cambridge Zoology Museum
June 2008

Note the blue/green/violet iridescence on the feathers that give the bird its name. The male's tail (not all of it is visible in this picture, not a wide enough lens!) is almost twice the length of his head and body.

Art #1: Four Theropods



"Four theropods"
Coloured pencil illustration, June 2008
Adapted from Luis Rey's illustrations in Dinosaurs: The Most Complete, Up-To-Date Encyclopedia for Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages

Top left: Dilong paradoxus Xu et al., 2004
Tyrannosauroidea; Theropoda; Saurischia; Sauropsida; Chordata
From Early Cretaceous China

Top right: Cryolophosaurus ellioti Hammer & Hickerson, 1994
Theropoda; Saurischia; Sauropsida; Chordata
From Early Jurassic Antarctica

Bottom left: Masiakasaurus knopfleri Sampson et al., 2001
Noasauridae; Abelisauroidea; Theropoda; Saurischia; Sauropsida; Chordata
From Late Cretaceous Madagascar

Bottom right: Citipati osmolskae Clark, Norell & Barsbold, 2001
Oviraptoridae; Theropoda; Saurischia; Sauropsida; Chordata
From Late Cretaceous Mongolia

Note that these dinosaurs have all been described in the last 14 years, and substantially different to the ideas most people have of theropod dinosaurs, e.g. Tyrannosaurus rex, Velociraptor, Allosaurus etc.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Photo of the Day #11: Red Howler Monkey Skull



Red howler monkey skull + hyoid bone
Alouatta seniculus (Linnaeus, 1766)
Atelidae (or Cebidae); Primates; Mammalia; Chordata
Cambridge Zoology Museum
June 2008

Look at that whopping great hyoid bone behind the jaw! So that's how it creates those resonating calls. Massive jaw too. One of the very fine specimens in the Zoology Museum at Cambridge... more to come soon (I took about 600 pictures there last Saturday!)

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Photo of the Day #10: Alpine Newt



Female Alpine Newt ("Carmella")
Mesotriton alpestris (Laurenti, 1768)
Salamandridae; Caudata; Amphibia; Chordata
Own collection
June 2008

One of about 8 new Alpine newts, I say "about" because two are adults and the rest are tadpoles and there were 6 at last count

Monday, 9 June 2008

Photo of the Day #9: Brazilian Tapirs



Brazilian Tapirs
Tapirus terrestris (Linnaeus, 1758)
Tapiridae; Perissodactyla; Mammalia; Chordata
Paradise Wildlife Park, Broxbourne, Herts.
May 2008

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Photo of the Day #8: Ring-tailed Lemur



Ring-tailed Lemur
Lemur catta Linnaeus, 1758
Lemuridae; Primates; Mammalia; Chordata
Paradise Wildlife Park, Broxbourne, Herts.
May 2008

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Photo of the Day #7: Owston's Civet



Owston's civets (or Owston's palm civets/ Owston's banded civets)
Chrotogale owstoni (Thomas, 1912)
Viverridae; Carnivora; Mammalia; Chordata
Paradise Wildlife Park, Broxbourne, Herts
May 2008

This is a rare species of civet (cat-like carnivore) from Indochina only present in 2 UK zoos, in which the civets have had fantastic breeding success. It is classed as Vulnerable by the IUCN.

Monday, 2 June 2008