Finally, it’s (sort of) done. Very, very simplified synapsid evolution. I started with basic eukaryotic cell, I didn’t even try to imagine what the LUCA was like. Probably some weird, virus-like thingy. I’m not sure I won’t tweak it a bit more, but for now, I consider it finished. I’m happy I managed to get it done now, as tomorrow I’m moving to a new address, and will be busy with cleaning, painting walls, more cleaning, and generally making the place hospitable, and won’t have time to paint or draw, so I’m glad I can at least upload this before disappearing for a while. I’ll also add this to my redbubble at some point.
So, the creatures are:
some generic cells, that weirdo that is
Saccorhytus coronarius, a tunicate,
Oikopleura dioica, because I was lazy, Pikaia, Haikouella, Haikouichthys, Pteraspis, Entelognathus, Guiyu oneiros, Tungsenia paradoxa, Tiniaru, Panderichthys, Tikataalik roseae, Acanthostega, Ichthyostega, Pederpes, Westlothiana, Echinerpeton, Pantelosaurus, Tetraceratops, Charassognathus, Dvinia, Prozostrodon, Adelobasileus, Hadrocodium, Teinolophos trusleri, Sinodelphys, Juramaia.
Now, Teinolophos (the monotreme) is known, of course, only form a jaw. It’s the oldest monotreme we have in the fossil record and can be a platypus relative, but can also be more basal than that. All we know for certain is: it had teeth as adult and didn’t have a beak. I had no idea how to restore it at first. All living monotremes are specialised weirdos. None have whiskers, for example. But, considering we don’t have anything that could be considered a generic monotreme, that begs the question: are whiskers therian thing, or mammalian thing, and extant monotreme lost them secondarily, because they just had to be wierd? Considering Teinolophos’s teeth, and the fact that it apparently had a rather strong bite (though how we know this is a mystery to me) it’s rather certain that it had a different lifestyle than that of any living monotremes. So, with that in mind, I decided to make it unlike any extant monotreme. And to give it whiskers, because I’m adventurous like that…
Though honestly, anything between Pantelosaurus and Sinodelphys/ Juramaia is known mostly from skulls (or fragments of skulls), so they’re all speculative to some degree. Also, I don’t think I need to say this, but none of them are drawn to scale.
And, while we’re on topic of I don’t think I need to mention it, but I will anyway:
The creatures I chose to paint here aren’t necessarily ancestors of anything that is alive today (and hell, the fish part of this painting definitely shows some non-ancestors (look at me, inventing words…), because we have the Zachełmie tracks that were left by something very much tetrapod-like, with four walking limbs, and tail and body held off the ground, and they predate Tiktaalik for about 12 million years, and Panderichthys by 10 million. I wonder if we’ll ever discover what left those tracks. That would be awesome! If only the fossil record wasn’t so patchy…