I think I finished the giraffes. I’m not sure, I may tweak them a bit yet, but there won’t be any major changes (unless I get my hands on any good references that will show me where I made mistakes).
They’re sort of to scale: sort of, because in most cases it’s impossible to find good references, and, as I mentioned earlier, finding good info on sizes is also difficult. The best I could find for Bramatherium was: “somewhat smaller than Sivatherium.“, and for Shansitherium, it was “smaller, with longer, more gracile* skull than Sivatherium.“ And Smatoherium was “about the size of modern bull moose” (or elk, if you’re in the UK), but it had “1m long neck“, so I’m a bit more confident with Samotherium size.
Also to keep in mind: scrappy reference material: For Bohlinia, I literally had a piece of skull and the length of metetarsal, Palaotragus is also based only on a piece of skull, with modified Okapi skeleton for the rest of the body. The same with Giraffokeryx. Though in Palaeotragus case I also had the length of metatarsus to help with scaling. For Giraffokeryx the size is based on the skull length. At least I had a full skeletal reconstruction for Helladotherium, and with metatarsus length I’m quite confident, that one is accurate and to scale.
Shansitherium is based on several photos of its skeleton, but they were all distorted to some degree. I did my best to combine those, and get the proportions right, but there’s a possibility I made mistakes along the way.
Honestly, trying to find good references on extinct synapsids (whether mammalian or not), apart from the few “superstars“ is ridiculous. And even in cases of seemingly well known species, the lack of good references can be surprising.
That was supposed to be a fairly quick painting, but… it wasn’t. I also wasn’t sure how may extant giraffes to include here. Because some sources claim there’s only one, others that there are six, and others still that there are eight species. I got confused about which of those views to follow, so decided to stick with the traditional one species.
I’ll be adding this to me shop at some point, once I’m sure there’s no more tweaks to make.
So I’ve often been asked to do more closed-mouth skeletal reconstructions, since it makes the dinosaurs look a bit more like animals and less like Hollywood monsters. It also obscures anatomy, so I won’t be switching to closed mouths full-time, but I thought it would be fun to do a series of them as a sort of Tumblr-exclusive. First up is everyone’s favorite almost-bird: Archaeopteryx!