My D&D characters from over the past year, love em all to death.  Left to Right they go:

-Race:  Warforged (Created to look like a Mindflayer)
-Class: Warlock
-Notable achievements:  Killed himself and the party by using a Rod of Wonder to turn a blade of grass into a Yochlol monster.

-Race:  Human Skeleton
-Class:  Eldritch Knight
-Notable Achievements:  I spent the entire campaign voicing him like Skeletor.  Has a Censer of Air Elemental in his ribcage, when he lights it the armor gets all glow-y and cool.

-Race:  Thri-kreen
-Class:  Ranger
-Notable achievements:  Since he can’t speak english, he communicates through embroidered notecards.  One time dropped an adamantium tower on a kraken’s head.

Hugh Mann
-Race:  Human(ish)
-Class:  Warlock
-Notable achievements:   Is a husk inhabited by an elder god that just wants to know how the world of mortals works.  Sounds like Marvin the Martian.  My current character.


Climbing Chameleons

A chameleon’s “two-toed” feet are actually multiple digits bound together.

by Diaz and Trainor.

One of the most distinctive traits found within Chamaeleonidae is their split/cleft autopodia and the simplified and divergent morphology of the mesopodial skeleton. These anatomical characteristics have facilitated the adaptive radiation of chameleons to arboreal niches.

To better understand the homology of chameleon carpal and tarsal elements, the process of syndactyly, cleft formation, and how modification of the mesopodial skeleton has played a role in the evolution and diversification of chameleons, we have studied the Veiled Chameleon (Chamaeleo calyptratus). We analysed limb patterning and morphogenesis through in situ hybridization, in vitro whole embryo culture and pharmacological perturbation, scoring for apoptosis, clefting, and skeletogenesis.

Furthermore, we framed our data within a phylogenetic context  by performing comparative skeletal analyses in 8 of the 12 currently recognized genera of extant chameleons…

(read paper here: BMC Evolutionary Biology)



Feather-horned Beetle (male) - Rhipicera femorata

Rhipicera femorata (Coleoptera - Rhipiceridae) is an uncommon beetle, in fact, most members of the small family Rhipiceridae are extremely rare and consequently little or nothing is known about their biology and habits. The adults are easily recognized by the large, fan-shaped antennae composed of many long segments, and the presence of membranous lobes on the tarsal segments.

This species occurs in Australia, inhabiting mostly sandy swamplands and immediate environs, with sedges, grasses and other swampy land trees.

Larval Rhipiceridae are ectoparasites of cicadas in North America, and it is probable that R. femorata is also parasite of cicadas and that the adult beetles emerge from their hosts in the ground when warmer weather conditions trigger their emergence from the ground surface.

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Kerry Vaneeden | Locality: Perth, Western Australia, Australia (2014)


My lifetime’s collection of ‘funny bones’ - I have a box of comparative specimens from animals I’ve cleaned, or been given or traded, showing damage from that animal’s lifetime - breaks, fractures, infections, disease. 

Top: fox tibia - I was traded this and the fibula has either broken and healed onto the bone, or fused on to it. 

Second: deer ribs - these were from a muntjac deer I found and cleaned myself, the rib has been broken, and although it healed up, the break became infected. 

Third: tarsals from a fox I just finished cleaning - the smaller bone has been broken, the break infected, and the bone has not managed to heal, although the injury is fairly old. 

Bottom left: deer radii and ulna - from a roe doe I cleaned up myself, on one leg the end of the radius and ulna bones are fused together, on the other, they are normal. This may be the result of injury or may not, but there are no signs of fracturing, infection or other damage to the bone.  

Buckley’s Slender-legged Tree Frog - Osteocephalus buckleyi

The commonly known as Buckley’s Slender-legged Tree Frog, Osteocephalus buckleyi (Hylidae), is a species complex of arboreal and nocturnal frogs, containing more than one species, some of them undescribed. This group has taxonomic problems which attest the difficulties of correctly identifying species boundaries on the basis of morphological evidence alone.

Osteocephalus buckleyi-like individuals are grouped in four clades, each one having unique morphological features indicating that each represents a species. Osteocephalus buckleyi sensu stricto has dorsal coloration consisting of a dark green background with brown spots; it has tubercles distributed over the dorsal surface which give the skin a granular appearance, and also has conspicuous tarsal tubercles; the venter is cream with brown speckling and the iris is golden.

This species occurs in the Amazon Basin from Amapá, Brazil, through the Guianas, Venezuela (Amazonas State), to Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia.

References: [1] - [2] - [3]

Photo credit: ©Frank Deschandol | Locality: Peru (2013)

Made with Flickr
Bone Poem

Tell me again about the slick bones
of the skull: occipital, frontal, temporal, parietal,

and the forgiving groove of fontanels grown
stone-hard and stubborn. Tell me about

cervical and thoracic vertebrae rising
from the lover’s lumbar curve, about clavicles

and sternum, and floating ribs falling south.
Tell me about the humerus, twisting dance of radius

and ulna, how all twenty-eight phalanges
swing open on the hand’s silent hinges.

Tell me about cane-shaped femurs, the fluted
pipe of tibia, and slender, clasping fibula,

tarsals wide and sure, and calcaneum, the calculus
of our unending path. Tell me about the smooth bowl

of the pelvis with its high and wide iliac crests,
the sacrifice of sacrum, and coccyx, memory of tail.

Tell me again about the bony tools of the ear,
how hammer, stirrup, and anvil return to us

the sounds of our small, miraculous lives.

– heather davis


Histology Look-a-like #195

Eyelid v Elephant by Manuela Tumiati

The eyelid has a conjunctival surface that contacts the surface of the eye and a skin surface the outer eyelid. The connective tissue tarsal plate that forms the core of the eyelid contains specialized sebaceous glands called Meibomian glands. Their secretory product (mebum) is an oily substance that prevents the eyes from drying out.

In the picture, Meibomian glands run along the elephant’s trunk, while the eye and the ear flap are hair (lash and whisker) roots. The underside of the trunk is the skin surface of the eyelid and the outer side of the trunk is the palpebral conjunctiva.

This look-a-like forms part of a collection of artworks at the Biomedicine Goes Art exhibition organized by the Faculty of Medicine and the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland, FIMM at the University of Helsinki. The exhibition was been put together by Susanne Hultsch and ran through Feb 2015. The eyelid histology image was taken by Manuela Tumiati.

Source: The Elephant at Biomedicine Goes Art

Parental care in the European Euscorpius scorpion

Euscorpius (Euscorpiidae) is the most common genus of scorpions in the Mediterranean region and southern Europe. They are viviparous and exhibit parental care.

Young are born when relatively large, after having been nourished in utero. After the young are born they climb onto their mother’s dorsum where they remain for the duration of the first instar (larval stage). The first instars are different from all other instars in that their cuticle is soft and white, their sting is blunt, and they lack tarsal claws. They also cannot feed or defend themselves. They can move, but not very far and they do so slowly.

Studies developed have shown that this behavior protects the juveniles from predation. However there are some other hypotheses to functionally explain the association of mother and offspring in scorpions, such as (i) there may be some form of trophic exchange between mother and young; (ii) The female may ensure that the young are kept within a favorable microclimate; and (iii) aggregation of young may decrease their relative surface area and thus reduce their average rate of water loss. 

In general males leave soon after copulation and assume no responability for the young. However, at least one species, E. flavicaudis, on encountering a pregnant female or one with young, in her ‘burrow’, the male may mate-guard her until her period of maternal care ends and she becomes receptive to him.

References: [1] - [2] - [3]

Photo credit: ©Marco Bertolini | Locality: unknown (Europe)

Made with Flickr

Progress has been slow, but I recently finished a little bit more on treasure’s skeleton! Got my hands on some more glue so I decided to sit down and figure out paws. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to recover a lot of toe bones (and tail bones, so he’s a little short-tailed :c), but I found out that I had all the metacarpals/tarsals for his right front and rear foot. So I had to frankenstien his phalanges to be able to have completed right feet and I’m very content with how they came out!

I still need to position his spine correctly and he’ll be propped up higher in the front when I get his sternum in place. Need to figure out wrist/ankle bones, get correct positions for legs, glue those in place, then somehow attach his heavy head (with a free swinging jaw) and he’ll be complete! He’s nowhere near perfect because of the quality and absence of his old bones, but I’m happy just having my old cat laying next to me again C:

Anzu is defintely one of the most popular paleontological discoveries of 2014. I’ve already depicted this oviraptorosaur when it didn’t have a proper genus (links: http://ktboundary-smnt2000.blogspot.it/2012/08/trieboldia.html, http://smnt2000.deviantart.com/art/Trieboldia-Ehrm-I-meant-Anzu-319871282), but I wanted to do another homage, more in line with my current ‘knowledge’.

About the animal, the feathered feet are a novelty. It’s possible that feathered feet were the basal condition for feathered dinosaurs and this feature gives them an unusual appearance, almost mammal-like. But since the tarsal scutes of birds develope from fully formed feathers, this is more realistic than it looks like. Nevertheless there must be a huge variety of dinosaur feet, just like modern birds.

The Bird Demigod in Pencil, 2014.

Pencil. Done on an A4 paper sheet for sketching.

References: Scott Hartman, Animals Real and Imagined: Fantasy of What Is and What Might Be by Terryl Whitlatch.

Links: http://smnt2000.deviantart.com/art/The-Bird-Demigod-in-Pencil-448407320http://ktboundary-smnt2000.blogspot.it/2014/04/the-bird-demigod-in-pencil.html