Anchiornis: Putting skin on the bones...with science!

Anchiornis: Putting skin on the bones...with science!

For paleoartists (and the scientists who work with them), properly restoring the skeleton is merely the beginning of the process, since the various muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues can make the final shape of an animal quite different than the skeleton alone. Most of the time this requires an extensive knowledge of comparative anatomy from living organisms, which we can occasionally test against occasional "mummy" dinosaur specimens with extensive soft-tissue preservation. With bird-like dinosaurs we have often been treated to preservation of their feathers and fluff, but not their skin or muscles...until today. Join me below the fold for a look at a truly amazing bit of soft-tissue preservation in Anchiornis.

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Mosasaur Tails - "Teaching the Controversy"

Mosasaur Tails - "Teaching the Controversy"

Mosasaurs have become all the rage lately with the release (and immense popularity) of Jurassic World. Purely by coincidence I had a commission for a mosasaur, Tylosaurus pembinensis. I hadn't done a mosasaur before (or any lizards), but I'm reasonably familiar with squamate osteology so I figured it wouldn't be nearly as far "out there" as say doing a skeletal of an actinopterygian fish. But it turns out that when it comes to their tail fins, science is still in the middle of telling the mosasaurs' tale...

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