c.m. kosemen

As C.M. Kosemen explains throughout All Yesterdays, we really can’t ever know how much fat and other soft tissues contributed to the overall shape of dinosaurs since that’s the first thing to rot and shrivel tight against their bones and like even a sperm whale has a little skinny skeleton.

so like

how would we know?

themesozoicsperm  asked:

What do you think about the crazy creations of Dougal Dixon?

His “After Man” stuff is totally blown out of the water by the gorgeous, ingenious All Tomorrows by my friend C.M. Kosemen, AKA Nemo Ramjet. It’ll change your life if you’ve never read it before.

That said, I adore several of Dixon’s creepier designs, like the hive-like people, the sloth-like “slobber” from his non-human concepts, and most of all the Vacuumorphs.

They are just utter cuties.

rasec-wizzlbang  asked:

has that idea that "all dinosaurs were dumb as hell with brains the size of peas, and even the smartest species was only as intelligent as a chicken" idea ever been discredited? Cause it seems like such an ass-backwards idea that might have vanished along with dinosaurs walking fully erect dragging heir tails on the ground, and having a second brain in their ass, but I've never seen it talked about.

Let’s talk about dinosaur intelligence!

Up until fairly recently, dinosaurs were thought of as very unintelligent animals.  This trend kind of goes hand-in-hand with how dinosaurs were physically portrayed.  I won’t go into too much detail on this right now, but suffice it to say that until the mid-twentieth century, all dinosaurs were big fat swamp-dwelling slobs with tiny brains incapable of processing more than the most basic instincts.

Stegosaurus is a famous example of a “dumb dinosaur”, with its admittedly tiny brain in comparison to its massive body.  When its bones were catalogued, its discoverers noted a large “canal” in the pelvic region of its spinal cavity, which was theorized to contain additional nervous tissue that controlled reflexes.  This was later discovered to not have been the case; it’s currently believed that this canal contained the glycogen body, an organ found in modern birds.

Then, along came Velociraptor, and everything changed.

The small, lithe Velociraptor was permanent proof that dinosaurs were active, potentially warm-blooded animals - more like birds than reptiles in many respects.  This kicked off a period in paleontology called the “dinosaur renaissance”, in which all preconceived notions about dinosaurs were turned on their heads - including previously held views on their intelligence.  Dinosaurs, paleontologists began to reason, might have been as intelligent as any modern animal.

Unfortunately, pop culture came and rubbed its greasy mitts all over everything, and now people think of Velociraptor as some kind of super-genius that could open doorknobs and program in Linux.  This, sadly, was probably not the case.

Analysis of dinosaur braincase sizes and brain-to-body size ratios reveals that their brains were decidedly more reptilian than avian.  The only exceptions are the coelurosaurs - the family of theropods that includes tyrannosaurs, raptors, and modern birds.

Bear in mind, I’m not calling reptiles “stupid”.  Measuring the intelligence of animals so different from us is quite difficult, and many reptiles are more socially and behaviorally advanced than we give them credit for.  That being said, as transitional forms between basal archosaurs and modern birds, dinosaurs were likely not at the intellectual level of, say, crows.

The reason that there’s not much official discussion about dinosaur intelligence is that it’s honestly near-impossible to say anything for certain.  The physical size of an animal’s brain can only tell us so much; the other piece of the puzzle is based on observations of animal behavior, and we can’t do that with animals that have been dead for 65 million years.  It’s entirely possible that Stegosaurus possessed an elephant-like level of empathy and social aptitude.  Until somebody invents a time machine, we can never know for sure.

However, that doesn’t stop people from speculating.

In 1982, Canadian paleontologist Dale Russell conjectured what might have happened had the dinosaurs not gone extinct, and this was the end result: the infamous “Dinosauroid”.  Russell proposed that Troodon - a famously big-brained dinosaur - would eventually develop human-level intelligence.  He was almost instantly criticized for assuming that an intelligent dinosaur would evolve such a human-like body shape.  Later paleontologists have conjectured that intelligent dinosaurs would not be impeded by the theropod body plan, citing examples of tool-using birds, such as corvids, vultures, and ground hornbills.  Illustrator C.M. Kosemen (better known as “Nemo Ramjet”) has illustrated one potential intelligent theropod that might have evolved had history taken a different path.