fossil reconstruction

DOLLOCARIS, A PREDATOR OF THE JURASSIC  WAS ALL EYES.

Vision has revolutionized the way animals explore their environment and interact with each other and rapidly became a major driving force in animal evolution. However, direct evidence of how ancient animals could perceive their environment is extremely difficult to obtain because internal eye structures are almost never fossilized.  

Today, paleontologists reconstruct with unprecedented resolution the three-dimensional structure of the huge compound eye of a 160-million-year-old thylacocephalan arthropod from the La Voulte exceptional fossil biota in South East France. The study was published 19 January in Nature Communications.

This arthropod called Dollocaris ingens had about 18,000 lenses on each eye, which is a record among extinct and extant arthropods and is surpassed only by modern dragonflies. Combined information about its eyes, internal organs and gut contents obtained by X-ray microtomography lead to the conclusion that this thylacocephalan arthropod was a visual hunter probably adapted to illuminated environments, thus contradicting the hypothesis that La Voulte was a deep-water environment.

- Eye structure of Dollocaris ingens.

As a group, the Thylacocephala survived to the Upper Cretaceous. Beyond this, there remains much uncertainty concerning fundamental aspects of the thylacocephalan anatomy, mode of life, and relationship to the Crustacea, with whom they have always been cautiously aligned.

oh my god man imagine modern day dragons who use their hoardes to fund kickstarters and pay off people’s debts and gofundmes
dragons with centuries’ worth of art in their hoards, who donate artifacts from once-thought-lost civilizations to their descendants
north american dragons with ancient native american pottery, whose caves are painted with ancient native american art, whose hoards have held and protected pieces of native american culture for generations
who remember everything that’s been lost, who help the disenfranchised and displaced to regain their cultures
dragons who use their hoards to start museums
who start charities and non-profit foundations
!!!!!
dragons who saved priceless, irreplaceable art and artifacts from the nazis
dragons who pulled books and manuscripts out of the flames of the library at alexandria
dragons who watched and recorded as rome fell
anti-capitalist historian dragons
!!!!!!
paleontologist dragons!
who have caves full of fossils and reconstructed skeletons
deep-sea dragons who collect from shipwrecks
thousands of years of history thought lost beneath the ocean, kept safe in underwater caves
dragons with censored hoards, who hold copies of old works, raw, and untouched by centuries of censorship for propriety’s sake

World’s Oldest Fossils Found in Greenland

Geologists recently found evidence of ancient life in Greenland which they think dates to 3.7 billion years ago. If their findings are confirmed, that would make the fossils the oldest evidence of life yet known. The great age of the fossils makes reconstructing the evolution of life from the chemicals naturally present on the early Earth more difficult. You see, the fossils are too old. It leaves little time for evolution to have occurred, and puts the process of life emerging and evolving close to a time when Earth was being bombarded by destructive asteroids.

I can’t wait for humans to go extinct and in a few million years a new species rises to sapience and uncovers our fossils, and all artistic reconstructions of us will look like liefeld drawings for the first 50 years

Ankylosaurus magniventris

North America, late afternoon in the Maastrichtian Age of the Late Cretaceous

The classic armored dinosaur, Ankylosaurus is relatively poorly known in the fossil record, so my reconstruction of the armor pattern here is somewhat speculative.

I made a soundtrack for the painting, which you can listen to at my SoundCloud page, here.

[Please don’t use or reproduce without permission, and thanks for viewing!]

Aegyptopithecus watercolour drawing from my sketchbook. This primate lived around 33 million years ago, and is thought to be a transitional form that led to the apes, and eventually, us. Aegyptopithecus had a lemur-like skull in terms of overall shape. There’s no brow ridge, and the snout is elongated. Only a few skeletal remains have been found, but I would like to do a full reconstruction soon.