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…

charlesisseriousbusiness  asked:

I'm not denying that birds are dinos, but if mammals evolved from reptiles, does that make us reptiles? Or is there something I'm not getting?

Mammals didn’t evolve from reptiles! Synapsida and Sauropsida (mammal-like things and reptiles, respectively) are, by definition, mutually exclusive.

anonymous asked:

Could you maybe clarify all the terms on your cladogram? I mean I know that they're all defined by evolutionary relationship and stuff but maybe both define them AND provide an example animal? I'm just a little confused by some of the names...

Oh yeah, sure! 

Chordata (Brick Red): Tunicata + Craniata + Cephalochordata; their most recent common ancestor, and all its descendants. Typically characterized by having a notochord, a dorsal neural tube, pharyngeal slits, a post-anal tail, and an endostyle at some stage of their lives. Examples include hagfish, sea squirts, sharks, sea bass, lungfish, frogs, humans, birds, and lizards (all vertebrates are chordates). 

Vertebrata (Red): Myllokunmingia + Gnathostomata (+ MRCA and all descendants); typically all chordates that have a backbone. Includes: sharks, sea bass, lungfish, frogs, humans, birds, lizards, and lampreys. 

Gnathostomata (Brown): Chondrichthyes + Placodermi + Teleostomi (MRCA & des.; jawed vertebrates. Includes: Sharks, sea bass, lungfish, frogs, humans, birds, and lizards. 

Placodermi (Beige): All gnathostomes more closely related to Dunkleosteus than to any living “fish”; these are the “armoured fish” that had huge armor plating on their heads. All non-placoderm Gnathostomes are in Eugnathostomata. Includes Dunkleosteus; all are now extinct. 

Chondricthyes (Orange): All Eugnathostomatans more closely related to Carcharodon than to humans; is all cartilaginous fish. Originally it was thought that bony fish evolved from cartilaginous fish, however, it has since been found that both diverged from a common Placoderm ancestor. Includes sharks and rays. 

Teleostomi (Yellow): All Eugnathostomatans more closely related to humans than to Carcharodon; “bony fish”. Includes sea bass, lungfish, frogs, humans, birds, and lizards. It is subdivided into Acanthodii & Euteleostomi. 

Actinopterygii (Olive Green): All Euteleostomis more closely related to sea bass than to humans. “Ray-finned fish”. Includes sea bass, clownfish, tuna, and goldfish. 

Sarcopterygii (Lime Green): All Euteleostomis more closely related to humans than to sea bass. “Lobe-finned fish”. Includes lungfish, coelacanth, frogs, humans, birds, and lizards. 

Tetrapoda (Light Green): Frogs + Humans, MRCA & all its descendants. Essentially, all land vertebrates - there are many forms of lobe-finned fish that were able to crawl onto land that form Tetrapoda’s most recent ancestors, but tetropoda proper is just all the descendants of the MRCA for all modern land animals (amphibians, sauropsids, and mammals). Includes frogs, humans, birds, and lizards.

Lissamphibia (Green): Caecilians + Frogs, MRCA & all its descendants. Essentially amphibians, though it excludes many extinct amphibians (when you use the term amphibian to mean all non-amniote tetrapods). This might not actually be a proper cladistic group, but I included it as it definitely does not contain any amniotes. Includes caecilians, frogs, and salamanders. 

Amniota (Dark Green): Humans + Birds, MRCA & all its descendants. All hard-shelled-egg laying land animals (specifically, they produce an egg with an amnios, allowing the animal to lay the egg on land, rather than water). Even though many mammals (and some reptiles!) have secondarily lost this ability, their ancestors did have it, making them a part of this group. Includes humans, birds, and lizards. 

Synapsida (Seafoam): A group of amniotes that includes mammals and all amniotes more closely related to mammals than other living amniotes. Synapsids are not reptiles; though many non-mammalian synapsids resemble them heavily. They are easily characterized by their skulls: many amniotes have temporal fenestra (a hole behind their eye socket); synapsids only have one of these. Most reptiles have two. Includes Dimetrodon, humans, and whales. 

Mammalia (Teal): Platypus + Humans, MRCA & all its descendants. All mammals, essentially. Mammals are typically characterized by the ability to produce milk from mammary glands. Most don’t lay eggs, but either give birth to their young in a pouch (marsupials) or grow the young inside of a placenta (placentals, aka us). Includes echidnas, humans, whales, and kangaroos. 

Sauropsida (Aqua): All amniotes more closely related to birds than to mammals. Essentially reptiles. Since birds and dinosaurs are included in this group, there aren’t a whole heck of a lot of good unifying characteristics. Many sauropsids are endothermic (warm-blooded); many have feathers in addition to scales; and some even give birth to live young. Includes turtles, plesiosaurs, lizards, tuatara, snakes, mosasaurs, icthyosaurs, crocodiles, pterosaurs, dinosaurs, and because it includes dinosaurs, birds. 

Lepidosauria (Dark Purple): Lizards + Tuatara, MRCA & all its descendants. Characterized by having overlapping scales. A part of the larger group Lepidosauromorpha within Sauropsida. Includes lizards, tuatara, snakes, and mosasaurs. 

Squamata (Purple): Lizards + Snakes; MRCA & all its descendants. Characterized by skins with horny scales and shields, and can move the upper jaw as well as the lower jaw (not something most jawed vertebrates can do). Includes lizards, snakes, and mosasaurs. 

Mosasauridae (Lavender): Mosasaurus + Plioplatecarpus, MRCA & all its descendants. The mosasaurs - large marine reptiles, similar to monitor lizards, but elongated and streamlined for swimming. Extinct now. Includes - you guessed it - Mosasaurus, as well as Tylosaurus and many others. 

Serpentes (Fuchsia): Blind snakes + Vipers, MRCA & all its descendants. Essentially all snakes. They’re distinct from lizards due to lack of eyelids and external ears - there are many legless lizards, but snakes are a specific group of “lizards” (given that squamates on the whole can be called lizards). Includes the garter snake, blind snakes, and cobras.  

Ichthyosauria (Hot Pink): All animals more closely related to Icthyosaurus than to Grippia; essentially, a group of sauropsids not a part of Lepidosauromorpha or Archosauromorpha. They were adapted for completely aquatic life and are now completely extinct; they sort of looked like dolphins. Includes Icthyosaurus, Opthalmasaurus, and Mixosaurus. 

Archosauromorpha (Azure): Birds + Crocodiles + Turtles, MRCA & all its descendants. Essentially all modern sauroposids more closely related to birds than to lizards, though of course it includes many extinct groups as well that are descended from their most recent common ancestor. This is a very diverse group with a wide variety of characteristics. Includes turtles, plesiosaurs, crocodiles, pterosaurs, dinosaurs and therefore birds. 

Pantestudines (Dark Violet): All sauropsids more closely related to turtles than any other animal. A group of archosaurimorphs. Genetic analyses have shown strong evidence that they are more closely related to archosaurs than to lepidosaurs; these genetic analyses that include fossils also reveal that animals such as plesiosaurs and placodonts are in this group. Includes turtles, plesiosaurs, Liopleurodon, and Placodus.   

Plesiosauria (Plum): Plesiosaurus + Peloneustes, MRCA & all its descendants. The plesiosaurs - the long-necked (though many lost this) marine reptiles from the Mesozoic. This group also includes the pliosaurs, which on the whole lost the long necks characterizing the group. Includes Plesiosaurus, Elasmosaurus, Kronosaurus, and Liopleurodon. 

Testudines (Violet): Xinjianchelys + Trionyx, MRCA & all its descendants. Essentially, all modern turtles - characterized by having a shell developed from the ribs that acts as a shield. The classification of turtles has been a struggle, given that they are anapsids - meaning, they have no temporal fenestra. The earliest amniotes were anapsids and it was assumed from fossil evidence that turtles, therefore, were descended directly from them, and were not part of any more derived amniote groups (such as synapsids or archosaurs). Most sauropsids are diapsids - meaning, they have two temporal fenestrae. It has since been theorized, however, that turtle ancestors were diapsids; turtles actually lost their temporal fenestrae during their evolution. This is not a completely ridiculous idea, of course; many traits are secondarily lost in groups, making classification by traits a nightmare and unfeasible. Genetic analyses have revealed that the closest living relatives for turtles are crocodiles and birds, making them a part of Archosauromorpha. Includes Green sea turtles, the African spurred tortoise, and terrapins such as the Red-eared turtle. 

Archosauria (Cerulean): Crocodiles + Birds, MRCA & all its descendants. Characterized by having teeth in sockets, though some archosaurs (such as birds) lost their teeth secondarily. Many members of the group have erect or partially erect gaits, unlike other sauropsids, which have sprawling gaits (such as lizards). Archosaurs were the dominant land vertebrates for the entirety of the Mesozoic Era (though dinosaurs were only really during the Jurassic and Cretaceous; a wide variety of archosaurs were common throughout the Triassic). Given that birds are far more diverse than mammals; it can still be argued that archosaurs continue to be the dominant land vertebrates today. Includes crocodiles, pterosaurs, dinosaurs and therefore birds. 

Pseudosuchia (Aqua): Living crocodilians and all archosaurs more closely related to crocodilians than birds. They have massively built skulls, and many still have the typical reptilian sprawl, though some have an erect gait. They typically also had armored plates. Includes crocodiles, alligators, Deinosuchus, phytosaurs, and aetosaurs. 

Ornithodira (Indigo): A subgroup of Avemetatarsalians, which is all archosaurs more closely related to birds than to crocodiles. Ornithodira is, specifically, Dinosaurs + Pterosaurs, MRCA, and all descendants (Ornithodira was easier to fit into the diagram). This group potentially has protofeathers as a characteristic of the entire clade, though many lost them secondarily (such as hadrosaurs). Includes almost all flying vertebrates. Members include Scleromochlus, all pterosaurs, all dinosaurs and therefore all birds.  

Pterosauria (Blue-Violet): Anurognathus + Preondactylus + Quetzalcoatlus, MRCA & Descendants. The pterosaurs. These are all of the “flying reptiles” that one typically knows about from the Mesozoic Era. They had pycnofibres - small filaments similar to hair, potentially the same as protofeathers; and flew using membraneous wings that stretched across an extended finger. Includes Dimorphodon, Pteranodon, Pterodactylus (”pterodactyl”), and Ornithocheirus. 

Dinosauria (Blue): Megalosaurus + Iguanodon, MRCA & descendants. All dinosaurs. Note that this does not include many of the animals listed above! Dinosaurs are a very specific group of animals that all, typically, were able to walk with the limbs directly beneath the body. Protofeathers were also an ancestral trait for this group, though many dinosaurs secondarily lost them - the same proteins that make protofeathers were turned into scales. Includes Brontosaurus (yes, it’s a thing again, there was a study this year), Stegosaurus, Triceratops, Tyrannosaurus, Allosaurus, Velociraptor, Brachiosaurus, Troodon, Parasaurolophus, Ankylosaurus, Pachycephalosaurus, Archaeopteryx, the Dodo, Bald Eagles, Emus, Cassowaries, Chickens, Ducks, Finches, Parrots, Robins, Crows, Geese, Blue Jays, Penguins, Auks, Seagulls… 

Avialae (Light Blue): All dinosaurs more closely related to modern birds than to Troodon. This is typically the group I mean when I say “birds,” though the clade that includes only modern birds is called Neornithes - all non-Neornithes Avialaens are extinct. Many basal Avialae, furthermore, are almost indistinguishable from their closest dinosaurian relatives, the troodontids. It is uncertain whether the earliest Avialaens (such as Archaeopteryx) could properly fly. Includes Archaeopteryx, Confuciusornis, Hesperornis, the Dodo, Bald eagles Emus, Cassowaries, Chickens, Ducks, Finches, Parrots, Robins, Crows, Geese, Blue Jays, Penguins, Auks, Seagulls… essentially, all birds. 

I hope that was helpful!

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.

*huh, my browser doesn’t know that word.

Hey, look, I’m actually alive! I’m still neck deep into painting, redecorating, and so on, but I did manged to paint a lazy Dimetrodon sunbathing on a Walchia trunk, and found some time to upload it, so there’s that.

I’m still not going to post anywhere near regularly here, as also, life happened, and it turned out I have to write myself a website, get a hosting, and go through a lot of changes in the business I’m trying to run, and it’s all still in progress, and I’ll be focusing on this for now. I’ll try to pop up here from time to time, and maybe even get some new artwork done. Life’s pesky like that, and there’s this little issue of earning money to stay alive, or something…

I hope you’re all doing alright, and I now I got a bunch of new followers, so hello to you :)

As for this Dimetrodon, contrary to a whole lot of palaeoart, you can’t spend your life roaring, hunting, chasing, and snapping at everything that moves. Sometimes you just have to take a break, and take a nap in the sun.

I don’t know why, but the painting looks weird: it looks fine when I look at it in krita, the .kra file looks also good, but when I save it as png it turns out really dark. No idea why. I did play a bit with levels, to get it to look closer to what the painting before conversion looks like, and this is the best result I got, but I’m still not 100% happy with it. That’s the first time something like that happened, and I hope it’s the last. And also tumblr doing something atrocious to it doesn’t help…

Based on Scott Hartman’s skeletal.

Hey, look. It’s that Megaloceros giganteus portrait I started in April 2015… and finally finished.

Commonly known as Irish elk* or giant deer, M. giganteus lived in Eurasia during the Middle Pleisotcene and Early Holocene. It had the biggest antlers of any known cervid: it could reach up to 40kg in weight, and up to 3.64m across. In body size, it was similar to the Alaskan subspecies of moose, reaching on average between 540 - 600kg, with large specimens weighting 700kg or more.

It’s closest living relative is probably fallow deer (Dama dama)

*elk in British English is exactly the same animal as moose in American English. Don’t ask me why. Elk/moose live in Eurasia as well as North America, so it really doesn’t make any sens to me, but there you go.

I had a bit of free time yesterday, and added Xianshou to the other gliding haramiyids. There are two species of Xianshou: X. linglong I chose for this painting, and a smaller X. songae, that was about half the size of its bigger relative. I must say, I’m much happier with the layout now.

Both species of Xianshou were described in 2014.

I did a thing.

Art Nouveau is one of my favourite art styles, and I wanted to try something a little bit different, and I still have lazy Dimterodons on my mind… and that’s the result of all this.

This guy just woke up form a nap. You can run around roaring all day, you know.

I kind of like it, and probably will do a few others. I definitely want to make one with Inostrancevia - my favourite non-mammalian synapsid.

I experimented not only with style here, but with techniques as well. To make the outline, I first sketched it, and then turned it into vector. But I coloured it in Krita.

I think I’ll stick with vector outlines for the others as well - I like the clean lines it gives. It’s not the first time I did something with vectors, but up to this point I only used vectors for logos and such, so this was a little bit different.

I like the way the outline looks on its own, too. I have some vague, not very defined notion that I could do something interesting with it, but… as I said, vague.

I’ve already added this guy to my redbubble. I always find it annoying that only some of the clothes have (limited) option for the buyer to choose background colour. Especially when, like this time, I’m uploading something that doesn’t have any background. So I went with black for clothes (obviously…), white for prints and mugs, and reddish-rusty-brown similar to the colour on the top of this guy’s sail, for the rest. In other words- it’s all over the place, but I really don’t like white backgrounds.

Also, I’m never really happy with how I paint the transition between the back and the sail. I’d be much happier if there was any evidence that it was a sort of half-hump, but unfortunately, it was a sail. A few dozens Dimetrodon artworks form now, I’ll probably figure out how to get it right. But for now I’ll just have to annoy myself.

anonymous asked:

Can you draw Stegodon charging Homotherium?

The answer, apparently, is… sort of. Ignore Homotherium front legs. Just… ignore them.

There should probably be more trees and bushes here, but… plants. Yuck.

So, I’ve made an anatomical study of everyone’s favourite giant hornless rhino.

Paraceratherium lived in Eurasia during the Oligocene epoch, and was one of the largest land mammals ever - its skull alone could reach 1.3m in length*. Exact size of Paraceratherium isn’t known due to lack of complete specimens, but it’s been estimated to be up to 7.4m long, 4.8 to 5.25m tall at the shoulder, and weight between 11 and 20 tonnes.

It was a browser, feeding on relatively soft plants.

I used modern rhinos’ and horses’ muscle systems for reference. And I’ve learned that there exist a shrink-wrapped reconstruction of Paraceraherium, with matchstick legs that in no way would be strong enough to carry animal of that size. Honestly, it’s the stuff of nightmares.

* for reference, I’m 1.58m tall. Sure, that’s not much, but it’s still pretty mind-boggling to think about something’s head only 28cm shorter than me.

I’ve been playing with animation lately, and this is the first half-decent one I made. Although I have no idea why the background is sort of glitchy… I also mixed the sound for this (which was pretty fun in its own right).

Basilosaurus doing important, prehistoric whale stuff. At first I wanted the whale to stay in the middle of the screen, and have the illusion of it moving forward created with the background, but… this proved to be far more difficult than I imagined, so I moved the whale instead. Probably shouldn’t have chosen water for my first animation…

I already have an idea for something a bit more complicated, but no clue when I’ll have time to do this.

And as a side note, for some reason the software I’m using doesn’t render video files properly (though it should, and it does for other people), and I have to render every single frame as png and then make them into a movie. Bit annoying.

I don’t have time for anything lately, so here’s a silly drawing of a Thylacosmilus atrox I did about two weeks ago and didn’t have time to upload it until now. Inspired by the jowls cat/chin cat discussion, and also by my dog :P

I’ve decided to combine big jowls with big chin, because the idea of sabers covered entirely by really long, floppy jowls doesn’t strike me as very comfortable for the animal, and sabers covered only by sort of flesh-sheaths on the mandible also don’t seem comfortable, so I went with somewhat floppy jowls covering the top part of the teeth, and partial sheaths on the lower jaw covering the rest.

And also, by looking at today’s predators, I’d guess that Thylacosmilus spent a lot of its time doing what predators do best: being lazy.

Thylacosmilus lived between the Late Miocene to the Late Pliocene in South America, and I’d be very surprised if they didn’t flop on their backs at least from time to time.

Castorocauda lutrasimilis catching breakfast. I’m not sure about the hind leg, but I was too lazy to change it.

Castorocauda was a semi-aquatic docodont that lived about 164 million years ago, during the Jurassic period, in what today is Inner Mongolia. It was a piscivore, that also supplemented its diet with invertebrates.

It was mammaliaform, but not a mammal.

It could reach a little over 40cm in length, and between 500 to 800g in weight.

The name Castorocauda lutrasimilis means beaver-tail similar to otter.

The holotype preserves extensive coat of fur, and also small scales/scutes on the tail. The tail was also covered in sparse hair.

anonymous asked:

I asked another paleo blog but they never answered. I was wondering if dinosaurs are still considered reptiles since they are warm blooded and have feathers?

Yes, because reptiles is no longer defined by a set of characteristics - in fact, no group of organisms is anymore. That was the old way. 

Kids, hold onto your butts: we’re talking cladistics. 

Since the development of modern evolutionary theory, all organisms have been classified based on their evolutionary relationships. Meaning, Dinosauria is literally defined as the group of organisms containing the most recent common ancestor (MRCA) of Megalosaurus and Iguanadon and all of that MRCA’s descendants. (This, you’ll note, includes birds.) 

Now, the group that traditionally was reptiles no longer exists - instead it’s called Sauropsida, which doesn’t really have the best definition. My definition? All amniotes (yes, another clade) that aren’t members of Synapsida; or all the descendents of the MRCA of Parareptilia and Eureptilia… and there are some others too. All definitions, however include dinosaurs - so, yes, dinosaurs are still reptiles… if you consider Sauropsida to mean Reptiles… 

Which means birds are reptiles, too 

Science is fun!

I think this guy is finished… I’ll have to check tomorrow, when I’m actually somewhat awake. I have two versions of this, with one minor difference, but I’m just to tired to decide now which one is better (or if I still need to fix something, add some shadows, and so on).

But anyway, 2 pictures done, 10 more to go!

And a little bit about Haptodus: it’s the most basal sphenacodontian, and member of a lineage that eventually led to mammals. It lived during the Late Carboniferous and Early Permian (299 - 296.4 Ma). It was about a medium-size predator, with individual sizes varying between 60cm and 1.5m in length. It fed on arthropods and small vertebrates. I based my reconstruction on H.garnettensis ( or H. baylei, depending on whether baylei is a valid species or not.)

It’s lying on Cordaites leaves.

Next one will be Pantelosaurus or Tetraceratops.