Axolotl by Alejandro Alamo on Flickr.

A través de Flickr:
Ambystoma taylori or Axolotl from Lake Alchichica - The axolotl “water monster” is a neotenic salamander, closely related to the tiger salamander. Larvae of this species fail to undergo metamorphosis, so the adults remain aquatic and gilled. The species originates from numerous lakes, such as Lake Xochimilco underlying Mexico City. Axolotls are used extensively in scientific research due to their ability to regenerate limbs.

As of 2010, wild axolotls are near extinction due to urbanization in Mexico City and polluted waters. Non-native fish, such as African tilapia and Asian carp, have also recently been introduced to the waters. These new fish have been eating the axolotls’ young, as well as its primary source of food. The axolotl is currently on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s annual Red List of threatened species

Ouranodromeus artifex

Height: 1m
Weight: 20kg
Classification: Maniraptora, Paraves, Troodontidae, Neotroodontidae, Dexteropterygidae, Sapiornithoides

As promised, here is the droman skeleton!  They look pretty silly without feathers, which is why I’ve included two silhouettes.  To be honest, the whole reason I designed them with prominent head feathers was to hide the awkwardly large braincase, which made many dinosauroids ugly imo.  Also, as a cartoonist the feathers will prove useful for emoting.

Below is a brief list of key anatomical features.

Enlarged braincase - Self-explanatory, really
Reduced jaw muscles - Allowed more space for the brain to grow
Reduced muzzle - Correlated with reduced jaw muscles, as well as the increasingly omnivorous diet, the lack of need for a killing bite, and the increase in neotenous features
Short, thick neck - Supports the enlarged head closer to the center of gravity
Long head feathers - For display and conveying emotion
Long forearms - Used for flight in juveniles and for a lengthy reach in adults
Opposable thumbs - For manipulation
Dexterous feet - Reversed hallux is held off the ground while walking
Opisthopubic pelvis

I promise I’ll have a write-up on how/why dromans are sapient soon!  I’ve put tons of thought into it and every new piece of information I’ve learned over the past few months has reinforced my ideas on how it happened.  As a bit of a teaser, they’re an extremely social species with a huge emphasis on showing off in every way.  Intelligence, creativity and dexterity, while moderately useful for survival, are expensive traits that wouldn’t really need to develop past a certain point…that is, if it hadn’t been for runaway sexual selection!
10 lessons from designer Tibor Kalman: Perverse Optimist
1. Everything is an experiment. You can get a great feel for what Tibor Kalman (1949–1999) was about just from the opening pages of Tibor Kalman: Perverse Optimist… 2. Learn on the job. Peter Hall...

Austin Kleon read Tibor Kalman: Perverse Optimist and distilled it into ten lessons. It’s truly a wonderful book and one that I think about often. I’ve referenced Tibor Kalman here several times before, including one of the quotes that Austin includes in his post. I’ve also pointed to Maira Kalman several times. What I like about the Kalmans (and the summary that Austin provides) is their emphasis on learning and self-evolution, their neotenous nature.

ALBANURA: these monsters undergo metamorphosis into their larger, battle-ready “mother” forms when they first become gravid, gaining muscle and fat to protect their future young. there are no male albanura, only undifferentiated (hermaphroditic) and female; the neotenous undifferentiated sex are small and harmless, surviving off the scraps of their larger mates, and they can mate with members of either sex, while the female albanura’s metamorphosis is permanent, also instilling them with a dominant, matriarchal role over members of their clan.

I was doing more research into the way in which male desire towards women is seemingly based upon youthful, neotenous looks. I feel that there is an undercurrent of pedophilia in this, and my theory has been pretty much confirmed by this set of statistics.
Female reddit users were asked “When did you first notice that men were looking at you in a sexual way? How old were you and how did it make you feel?" There were more than 21,400 responses within two days.

  • “I was about 11 when I started to get wolf-whistled”
  • “I was 14 in a restaurant with my parents, sucking on a lollipop, when some dude approached to let me know that he wished he was the lollipop.”
  • “I was probably eleven or so.”
  • “I was 14. It made me feel scared, dirty and ashamed of my body.”


(I don’t want to get into the eternal “you’re hosting child porn!” versus “photos of clothed fifteen year olds aren’t child porn, they’re perfectly fine!” debate, except to say that when the universe finally runs down, and we all succumb to entropy, the second-to-last post on the ultra-cyber-quantum-internet will be “posting holograms of neotenous transhumans is totally in conformity with the First Law Of Robotics as long as they are older than thirteen million years and created the hologram themselves”, and the last post will be “lol u r a perv”)