digital scratchboard

Linguamyrmex vladi, an ant from the Late Cretaceous of Myanmar (~99 mya). Part of an extinct group known as the Haidomyrmecini, or “hell ants”, it measured about 5mm long (0.2″) and is known from several individuals in amber.

It had huge scythe-shaped mandibles and a horn-like appendage on its head which together formed a powerful trap-jaw mechanism, snapping vertically shut when a pair of long sensitive trigger hairs touched against a target. One specimen was preserved close to a large soft-bodied beetle larva, which may have been an intended prey item.

When closed, the mandibles formed a tube-like channel to Linguamyrmex’s mouth, allowing it to suck out the “blood” from its impaled victims – and inspiring its species name, referencing Vlad Dracula.

The horn was also reinforced with metal particles in the chitinous exoskeleton, strengthening it against the impact of its closing jaws.

Gamerabaena sonsalla, a baenid freshwater turtle that lived at the very end of the Cretaceous (~66 mya) in North Dakota, USA. Known only from a single skull, its full size is uncertain, but it may have reached lengths of around 50cm (1′7″).

Its genus name was inspired by Gamera, a fictional giant turtle from a series of Japanese kaiju movies.

Baenids first appeared in the mid-Cretaceous (~112 mya) – although their ancestry may go as far back as the Late Jurassic (~150 mya) – and were part of an early lineage of the cryptodiran turtles, the grouping which includes most freshwater turtles and terrapins, all terrestrial tortoises, and all sea turtles. However, unlike many of the their modern cousins, they weren’t capable of fully retracting their heads inside their shells.

They survived well through the K-Pg mass extinction, with several species found on both sides of the boundary, but eventually went extinct in the mid-Eocene (~42 mya).

Artist & Illustrator:

Keely

“The Marquis”

Scratchboard and Watercolor with Digital Clean Up

14" x 18"

“Stags are getting to be the new hip thing in the lowbrow art movement. Lots of artists paint and draw them with flowers/birds/pretty things in their antlers. Not me.

This is The Marquis. He is a gigantic ghostly red deer stag, and on his rack, rest ten rodent spirits, eight of which are impaled bloodlessly on his antlers. Tangled across him, is a rope attached to a pendulum jewel, which unravels at its end. This is a personal piece.”

Eucritta melanolimnetes, an amphibian-like creature from the Early Carboniferous of Scotland (~335 mya). About 25cm long (10″), it had a mixture of anatomical characteristics similar to baphetid stem-tetrapods, temnospondyls, and reptile-like amphibians, making its exact classification difficult. It’s currently considered to be a close relative of both the baphetids and Crassigyrinus, and it was probably close in appearance to what the common ancestor of all later tetrapods would have looked like.

Its name means “true creature from the black lagoon”, in homage to the 1954 monster movie.

anonymous asked:

hi pygmyyyyyy ❤️ do you have any tips for keeping a sketchbook? and getting inspired? xo

ooh yes, i actually have a MASSIVE list of general art practice tips which i’ve been meaning to share, so y’know what:

  • carry a sketchbook wherever you go. pull it out at starbucks, on the train, at school, etc, and just draw the things around you. use your imagination, too! if you’re feeling creative don’t limit yourself to just what your eyes see.
  • try out different mediums. paint, marker, graphite, charcoal, crayon, colored pencil, oil pastel, watercolor, chalk, ink, digital, collage, clay, mosaic, scratchboard—to name a few. mix media too!
  • scribble! be loose with whatever you’re drawing, don’t put too much thought into what it’s supposed to be. just let loose and let the form come to you.
  • challenge yourself! break out of your comfort zone a little bit. draw what you suck at. hands, feet, animals, backgrounds, whatever it might be.
  • goof around, play games! draw with your opposite hand, your mouth, your elbow, your foot. grab a friend or a few and take turns doodling on a piece of paper until you’ve got one big cohesive drawing, or take turns each drawing a panel of a silly comic. you’ll be surprised how much inspiration you find by playing.
  • draw and redraw. dig up old drawings from weeks or months or YEARS ago and draw it again! most effective way to measure your improvement.

Keep reading

Daeodon, from the late Oligocene and early Miocene of North America (~29-19 mya). About 1.8m tall at the shoulders (6′), it was one of the last and largest of the entelodonts, a group of omnivorous even-toed ungulates with long bone-crushing jaws.

Although often called “hell pigs” or “terminator pigs”, entelodonts weren’t actually pigs at all – instead they were much more closely related to hippos, whales, and Andrewsarchus.

What extinct animal has one of the most awesome and/or cheesy-movie-monster names ever?

Necromantis!

This bat from the Eocene of France (~44-36 mya) is only known from fragmentary remains, so its size is unknown for certain – but based on its skull measurements it may have had a wingspan of around 35cm (14″).

It had powerful jaws with large carnassial-like teeth, suggesting it was a carnivore specializing on vertebrate prey, similar to the modern ghost bat. It also seems to have been a nasal echolocator, and so may have possessed a nose-leaf.

Tullimonstrum gregarium, or the “Tully Monster”, a soft-bodied aquatic creature known only from the Late Carboniferous of Illinois, USA (~311-306 mya). Growing up to 35cm long (14″), it had a bizarre mix of features – most notably eyes on stalks and a long proboscis ending in toothy “jaws”.

Its identity was a mystery to paleontologists for about 60 years, with different interpretations attempting to classify it as various types of animal, but a recent study seems to have finally found an answer. Turns out that Tullimonstrum was actually a basal vertebrate related to lampreys!

Holocene Extinction Month #04 – Birds of the Mascarene Islands

The dodo (Raphus cucullatus, on the left), a 1m tall (3'3") flightless pigeon from the Republic of Mauritius, has become one of the most famous and recognizable recently-extinct animals.

But there’s more than one way to evolve a “dodo”, and two other nearby islands featured their own examples of convergent large ground birds.

The Rodrigues solitaire (Pezophaps solitaria, in the center) was found on the island of Rodrigues. It was a close relative of the dodo, being descended from the same flighted common ancestor, and males were approximately the same size – although females were around 20% smaller.

A species of “white dodo” was once thought to have inhabited Réunion Island, but discoveries of subfossil remains in the late 20th century have revealed this bird to actually have been a relative of the sacred ibis. The Réunion ibis (Threskiornis solitarius, on the right) had a shorter, straighter beak than its relatives, and hadn’t yet become completely flightless, but only flew short distances with difficulty.

All three of these birds, along with many other native Mascarene species, were badly affected by the arrival of humans. A combination of hunting, habitat destruction, and the introduction of invasive animals (such as dogs, pigs, cats, rats, and crab-eating macaques) was simply too much for these isolated island ecosystems to handle. The dodo was driven to extinction by 1693, within a century of its first discovery. The Réunion ibis disappeared around 1710, and the Rodrigues solitaire was extinct by the 1760s.

Haootia, from the Late Ediacaran of Newfoundland, Canada (~560 mya). Named after the Beothuk word “haoot”, meaning “demon”, it measured about 5cm in diameter (2″) and preserves the earliest known evidence of muscle fibers.

Based on the presence of muscles and its fourfold symmetry, it’s been identified as a cnidarian polyp – making it one of the only members of the Ediacaran biota with a clear relationship to other animal groups.

Holocene Extinction Month #10 – Falkland Islands Wolf

The Falkland Islands wolf (Dusicyon australis) was the only native terrestrial mammal of the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic Ocean. It stood around 60cm at the shoulder (~24in), and probably ate penguins and other ground-nesting birds, insects, and scavenged marine life along the islands’ beaches.

Although commonly called a “wolf” or a “fox”, it wasn’t closely related to either of those canids. DNA analysis has shown its closest living relative to be the similarly misleadingly-named maned wolf.

Hunted for its valuable fur, and persecuted by farmers who considered it a threat to their livestock, the Falkland Islands wolf was already rare when Charles Darwin visited the islands in 1833. By 1876 the species was completely extinct, the first known canid species to be wiped out in recent historical times.

Triadobatrachus massinoti, from the Early Triassic of Madagascar, around 250 million years ago. About 10cm long (~4″), it was a transitional form between earlier salamander-like amphibians and later frogs. It had more vertebrae than modern frogs, including a short tail – and while its hind legs were somewhat frog-like, it wasn’t capable of jumping.

Attercopus fimbriunguis, from the Devonian of New York State, about 385 million years ago. This small uraraneid arachnid had an estimated body length of around 1cm (0.4″), not including its vinegaroon-like tail, and was probably very closely related to the earliest spiders.

Unlike true spiders, however, it wasn’t capable of spinning webs – and didn’t need to, since flying insects hadn’t yet evolved. It didn’t possess spinnerets, but instead silk-producing “spigot” glands on the underside of its abdomen, which may have been used to line burrows or wrap eggs with sheets of silk.