Hypsilophodon was so smol! I don’t think the reality of it had ever dawned on me before that point. Also, so, in Land Before Time III, a teenage Hypsilophodon taunts Little Foot and sings a song about “when you’re big you can push all the little ones around” and -
We were talking about The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which was something which resembled an iPad, long before it appeared. And I said when something like that happens, it’s going to be the death of the book. Douglas said, No it won’t be. Books are sharks.
And I must have looked baffled at that because he looked very pleased with himself. And he carried on with his metaphor. He said, Books are sharks … because sharks have been around for a very, very long time. There were sharks before there were dinosaurs. And the reason sharks are still in the oceans is that nothing is better at being a shark than a shark is.
He said, Look at a book. A book is the right size to be a book. They’re solar-powered. If you drop them, they keep on being a book. You can find your place in them in microseconds. They’re really good at being books, he said, and books, no matter what else happens, will always survive. And of course he’s right.
Anyway today’s, yesterday’s, and the day before that’s dinosaur fridge magnet is not a dinosaur– it’s Quetzalcoatlus. I sort of did myself in with this one as the magnet it’s based on is flying, but Quetzalcoatlus looks really cool when it’s on the ground, so I decided to draw it in both poses. This may or may not have been a mistake, but that alone can’t account for the fact that despite having very strong silhouetted and being constructed out of simple, charismatic shapes, these things were incredibly difficult for me to draw. This could also have something to do with the fact that I’ve never really drawn a pterosaur before, at least not since I was like, ten.
The offending magnet actually looks nothing like a Quetzalcoatlus (and it’s labeled as “Pterodactyl” on the box), and the only reason I think that’s even what it’s supposed to be is because it clearly follows all the incredibly inaccurate paleoart tropes that normally apply to Quetzalcoatlus– gangly legs, long, skinny wings, what was probably at one time an Aztec-inspired color scheme, and of course, the essential Azhdarchid head nubbin, which is as ubiquitous as it is confusing, because no Azhdarchid is actually known to have anything remotely like it. It’s below the cut:
Life on earth, as magnificent and versatile as it is, is seemingly tame compared to the weird and wonderful creatures that once existed. All categories of life have reached unimaginable sizes, here are just a selection of prehistoric record breakers!
MEGALODON The biggest shark known to have existed, ruling over the oceans as recently as up to a million years ago. A length of almost 20 metres and weighing in at an estimated 48 tonnes, Megalodon could deliver a crucifying bite of up to 110,000N. It is no surprise that the Megalodon was dubbed the “whale killing shark”.
MEGATHERIUM Our early ancestors would have been quite familiar with Megatherium as they existed up to 8000 years ago, they were in fact the largest sloths to have existed. Sloths have a reputation as being lazy, slow and docile, but Megatherium was a 6 metre long, 4 tonne monster with a killer instinct and knife-like claws. Megatherium’s discovery came before that of the dinosaurs. Skeletons of these prehistoric beasts were a delight to the Victorian public and paved the way for the science of palaeontology.
ARCHELON Literally meaning “large turtle”, Archelon certainly was just that. Existing during the cretaceous, the time of the dinosaurs, Archelon could reach 4.5 metres long and may have lived to over 100 years old. Archelon could not compete with other cretaceous beings in speed and agility, but its blade-like beak was able to slice through flesh and crush though the toughest ammonite shells. Unfortunately Archelon appears to have been a popular snack for other marine dwellers, skeletons are frequently missing flippers or heads and covered in slashes.
TITANOBOA When the dinosaurs reign ended, a new era saw the rise of new super-predators, one was Titanoboa, the largest snake ever with a body up to 13 metres long, standing a metre off the ground and weighing up to 2500 pounds. Titanoboa was 30% longer than even todays largest species. Scientists believe this humongous snake hunted like its modern relatives, the boa constrictors, by winding around prey and suffocating them.
IRISH ELK Owner of the largest antlers of any animal, up to 3 metres wide, the Irish Elk gets its name from its frequent discoveries in Irish peat bogs. Existing up to 10,000 years ago, these would have been a common sight in grasslands for our ancestors. Many fossils indicate the animals died of starvation which is why the antlers are thought to have been part of elaborate mating contests between males, often resulting in one being fatally injured and unable to feed itself.
DEINOTHERIUM A distant relative of the elephants and mammoths, Deinotherium was more sinister, its name translates to “terrible beast”, they would have most likely caused trouble for our ancient ancestors around 1.5 million years ago. Deinotherium is actually considered to be the second largest land mammal of all time, behind Paraceratherium and is iconic in appearance due to its sharp, downward facing tusks.
ARCTODUS Known as the short faced bear, they were the biggest bears on record and one of the largest mammal carnivores to have existed. Whilst their skull was short, they were packed with piercing teeth that could deliver a bone crushing bite. Existing up to 11,000 years ago, out ancestors would have stayed well clear of this 900 kilogram predator, with slender limbs and knife-like claws, Arctodus was deadly.
SARCOSUCHUS One of the most infamous fossil discoveries in history, Sarcosuchus was the largest crocodile to walk the Earth up to 112 million years ago, this was a crocodile capable of killing dinosaurs. Sarcosuchus was twice as long as a saltwater crocodile, that’s 11-12 metres long and could reach over 8 tonnes. Its jaw was packed full of 66 teeth either side of its jaw and would have clamped down on prey that wandered too near.
ARGENTINOSAURUS One of the largest lifeforms that has ever stood on the Earth, Argentinosaurus could grow up to 30 metres long with its hind limbs standing 4.5 metres off the ground. They existed between 97-94 million years ago and at adulthood would have been virtually indestructible to predators. Its weight is estimated at a staggering 80-100 tonnes. There hasn’t been another land mammal on the same scale as Argentinosaurus since and it’s unlikely there ever will be.
SPINOSAURUS The largest discovered therapod ever, a group that includes Allosaurus and Tryrannosaurus. Spinosaurus remained an enigma to scientists for decades, the only discovered specimen was sadly destroyed during World War 2 and was not rediscovered until the 21st century. Spinosaurus is thought to have reached up to 16 metres long and weighed in around 12 tonnes, that is almost double the weight of a T-rex!
Most people, including me, thought 2016 was one for the books (just not the good sections). Although it seemed to be a year of tragedy, I found 16 things that made the year a little bit better. Was it better than okay? No. Although it wasn’t most peoples’ year, I look at it like it was a practice run. We got through the worst, which means we can get to the best. (Don’t forget to take a peek at the honorable mentions for 2016 at the bottom of the post!)
1. Shawn Mendes Album “Illuminate” (Best song goes to: patience)
2. Deadpool (Like c'mon you can’t get any better than Ryan Reynolds)
3. Harley Quinn (All hail Margot Robbie)
4. “Me Before You” Soundtrack (Jack Garratt takes the prize-winning song)
5. Taylor Swift Formula 1 Concert (Queen.)
6. Final season of Teen Wolf (Why yes, I am pretending I’ve watched since 2010 when i really started five weeks ago)
7. Bruno Mars Super Bowl performance (lol, he wasn’t even the main performer)
8. Ghost Shark (I mean c'mon it was a unbeleivable discovery!)
9. Dinosaur may have had feathers discovery (Literally have no words for this…)
10. Harry Styles hair (2012 vibes)
11. Captain America: Civil War (I never like Iron Man)
12. Victoria Secret Fashion Show (Slay Gigi Slay)
13. High School Musical 10 year reunion (Still salty about Zac though…)
14. Over The Knee Boots (What else would we wear t-shirts with?)
15. Perfect Summer weather (I can feel the breeze on the lake just thinking about it)
16. Selena Gomez’ acceptance speech at the AMAs (Like who didn’t cry at that??)
And there you have it, a few things that made last year a little bit more bearable. Something about 2017 seems intriguing. I’m graduating from high school, starting my first year at college, going on my first road trips with my friends, and starting so so many adventures. And if it turns out to be just as bad as last year, then there’s always another year to look forward to. Here’s to 2017 and hopefully the best year yet. (And if not, 2018 is only 355 days away!)
Then Honorable Mentions of 2016:
Bruno Mars album “24K Magic”, Scream (season 2), Rogue One, Hairspray! Live, and last but certainly not least The Walking Dead’s Negan!!!