I’ve got some medical bills upcoming, so although I’ll be sorry to see it go, I’m going to be selling my Deinonychus plushie.

“Feather Girl” is about two feet from snout to tail tip, and is entirely hand-sewn from my original pattern in four different colors of faux fur with beanies so she sits up nicely. Her custom painted eyes have a following effect, which is pretty neat - she’s looking at you no matter where you stand!

If you’re interested, I’m going to keep the bidding going until Weds., 26 October. I’d like at least $50 for her (shipping will be from Cape Town, South Africa) and you can put in a bid by emailing me at viergacht@gmail.com (please put “dinosaur bid” in the subject line).

Thanks for looking!

Good evening everyone! Today, I set up a Patreon page. I’d been thinking about it for a while, so I’ve finally gotten around to it. I only have a few tiers for now - I’d love to get up to mailing postcards when I have more patrons, we’ll see!

If you can spare a few dollars a month, it’d really help me out (in the quest to work less retail) - and if not, please reblog and follow me on Instagram @thoughtsupnorth! (Same as here.)



We’re all used to the common depiction of sabertoothed cats like the famous Smilodon. A fairly standard-looking feline face with protruding teeth, something like this:

It’s a look so ingrained in paleoart and pop culture that it’s even become visual shorthand for making cartoon creature designs look “prehistoric”.

Except… it might be completely wrong.

We’ve all been assuming that these saberteeth were basically tusks, like those we see in modern animals such as walruses and elephants. But it turns out that tusks have a very different chemical structure to normal teeth so they can withstand constant exposure to the environment – and Smilodon’s fangs don’t show any of those adaptations.

There’s a detailed explanation of this idea and the science behind it over at this blog post. It isn’t an academically published theory yet (although I’d love to see somebody do a proper study), but it’s still very plausible and interesting to think about.

The tl;dr version: it’s actually more likely that Smilodon covered its teeth with big jowly lips to protect them. Which means it probably looked like a feline version of a St. Bernard. Or… sort of like Chester Cheetah.

This was a fun little thought experiment illustrating an inevitable flaw of paleoart: you have to use living animals for references, and you have to make a lot of assumptions for recognizable things like nose shape, ear shape, eye color, fur color and texture and so on, so there’s a lot of latitude for error, especially for creatures that don’t have any modern descendants.

On the left is a cougar (Puma concolor) restored by an artist who lives in a world where all felines and their relatives have gone extinct before humans ever saw them, so they used a wolf as the model for restoring soft tissue. On the right is the opposite situation, a wolf (Canis lupus) restored using felines as a model. 

It was interesting to see how much of the character of the animal was inherent in the bone structure, and how much was dependent on flesh and fur.