Posted 4 days ago

theladyshark:

You see pictures of Great whites breaching all the time. But they are not the only shark that breaches you know.

Here are some awesome pictures of the Basking shark breaching. A rare sight!

This is great… but there really needs to be attribution to the photographers!

First photograph — Anthony Robson

Second photograph — Wild Light Photography

Third photograph — Susan Brigden/Explore Mull

Fourth photograph — Stiofan O’Connor/Pelagic Shark Research Foundation

Posted 4 days ago

thelonelywhale:

As a paleo-artist, one of my biggest pet peeves are prehistoric whales reconstructed not as whales but as sinewy, snarling, shrink-wrapped marine reptiles. It’s just not a plausible reconstruction, even if it’s highly speculative, and it paints an incorrect image in the public eye. Granted, this is a struggle I’ve exlpored in all forms of paleo-art and reconstructive illustration. But the whales have really been getting to me recently.

Here are some recontructions of Basilosaurus, if you don’t know what I mean (one by Karen Carr, the other by an artist I could not determine):

These snakey, reptilious reconstructions may stem from the fact that Basilosaurus, one of the first early cetaceans to be found, was believed to be a reptile when first discovered (hence the name). Maybe we simply haven’t fully shaken that mindset.

But still! Even the damn Smithsonian, which has such a wonderful collection of ancient cetaceans, is at fault in this:

Don’t even get me started on their recently-closed dinosaur hall. Thank the lord they’re finally renovating that dated piece of crap.

I have struggled to find a way to reconstruct these animals so that they are just a little bit more believeable. Up top I’ve done a really really quick sketch of Dorudon. I tried to not only make its body more streamlined and whale-like (because Dorudon has a lovely, almost but not quite modern-looking skeleton), but I also tried to give it markings similar to what we find on modern cetaceans for camouflage. Because hey, who’s to say they didn’t have ‘em? I tried to make them familiar but not directly copied from any modern species.

Aaaaand end rant.

This is fantastic!

It will never cease to amaze me how some artists reconstruct extinct whales as mosasaur-like monsters instead of… whales. There is a hideous fucking Dorudon on the cover of Uhen (2004), a 222 page treatise that clearly states that in life, the cetacean was certainly blubbery and streamlined.

Posted 5 days ago

A 2.75 meter (9 foot) Green Anaconda demonstrating sidewinding movement, the largest snake observed doing so in the wild.

Ryerson, W. & Horwitz, S. (2014) Sidewinding in the green anaconda. Herp. Review. 45 337-338. Available.

Posted 2 weeks ago

The changing life appearance of dinosaurs | Tetrapod Zoology, Scientific American Blog Network

It is a good day for articles on Paleo-Art

Posted 2 weeks ago

Patterns in Palaeontology: Palaeoart – fossil fantasies or recreating lost reality?

Posted 3 weeks ago
Posted 3 weeks ago

From the Spearboard.com forums:

We are commercial divers for sea cucumbers. My friend and I rode out from San Pedro to San Clemente yesterday. About 4 miles away from San Pedro, my friend was controlling the boat and called me to look at this monster creature. I had enough time to take a few pictures. The measurements of the head was like 3 feet long and 2 feet wide and about 2 feet high. In the first picture, from the right side, that is the nose. In the middle, it is the eye which was about 4 inches long. And to the left, is the back of the head. We did not see the body. To me, it looked like a mix of a horse, camel, and hippopotamus. It rose out of the water, just its head, and slowly went down into the water again as we were 15 feet away. Does anybody know what this THING is? This is not fake. Does anybody know who I can refer to or contact for more information to find out more about it? Thanks.

As other posters pointed out, this is clearly a Northern Elephant Seal (Mirounga angustirostris). In response, the eyewitness stated:

Maybe you’re right. I checked Google and the top of the head looks like it. It’s a bit different, but also a bit similar. Are Elephant Seals even located here and do they come to this area?

As a person interested in cryptozoology, this is a goldmine. Everybody knows anecdotes can be faulty but it’s hard to test just what sort of description a person will give to an unfamiliar animal. It’s once in a blue moon that somebody will include photographs with their descriptions… which demonstrate just how wrong their descriptions are.

Most ‘True Believer’ types will argue that a person identifying as a commercial diver” will be experienced with everything and pretty much infallible. And surely nobody only 15 feet away from an animal could misidentify it, right? Yeah… not so much. It’s interesting that even after looking up pictures of an elephant seal, the eyewitness found it "a bit different". Comparing an elephant seal to a horse, camel, and hippopotamus” seems a bit counter-intuitive and it’s interesting that the cryptid ‘Cadborosaurus’ is often also compared to the first two. The dimensions of the head and eye also seem to be exaggerated.

Posted 1 month ago

Homo floresiensis: scientists clash over claims 'hobbit man' was modern human with Down's syndrome

"This is an outrageous abuse of the peer review process."

"This is just cronyism,"

Posted 1 month ago

A reconstruction of Spinosaurus by Luis V. Rey based on a new version by Paul Sereno.

It would appear that new material has been discovered and not yet published — however, even Rey himself is uncertain of this. The extremely short legs and near-quadrupedal posture just… could not look weirder.

From the art blog of Luis V. Rey (which also has a picture of what appears to be a skeletal mount with similar proportions).

Posted 1 month ago

Trawler bycatch of a juvenile Nile Softshell Turtle (Trionyx triunguis) from the mouth of the Seyhan and Ceyhan Rivers, Turkey (top); and an adult from Hisaronu Bay, Turkey that was observed at a depth of 15 meters, which moved to 22 m when disturbed (bottom). Not pictured — unfortunately — was an enormous individual (over a meter in carapace length) accidentally trawled up from a depth of 55 m in Iskenderun Bay, Turkey. It would appear that while mainly freshwater and estuarine, this species is capable of surviving and thriving in marine environments. Curiously, two other giant softshells (Pelochelys cantori, P. bibroni) have been observed at sea as well.

Taskavak, E. & Akcinar, S. (2009) Marine records of the Nile soft-shelled turtle, Trionyx triunguis from Turkey. Marine Biodiversity Records 2 DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1755267208000092