Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Neck is a Lie

Matt Wedel of SV-POW has a pair of old articles on how necks lie, illustrating in a general sense that the skeletal structure of an animal is often at odds with its physical appearance. No part of the skeleton emphasizes this discrepancy more than the neck, especially in birds. These have always been some of my favorite SV-POW posts, not just because of how crazy it is to see a budgie's cervicals overlap its trachea, but because the prevaricative nature of the neck has a great deal of application to paleontographic reconstructions of dinosaurs.

Ardeidae, the heron family, demonstrates an excellent variety in neck shapes and neck capabilities. Most of us are familiar with larger heron species, like the great blue and the great egret. Both of these birds are very large, and have extremely long, serpentine necks. But these necks don't lie - by paleontography standards, they are almost "shrink-wrapped" in appearance, and clearly show the accurate contour of the vertebral column.

Look at that glorious S-curve.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Rains of Rögling

Here is my rendition of the purported baby megalosauroid, Sciurumimus, perched on a rock by the Bavarian sea as it waits patiently for its mother to return to it. Two pterodactylid pterosaurs comb the beach in the background. From the late Jurassic Rögling Formation of Germany, ~150 mya.