Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Change has come to The Lord Geekington

As you may have noticed, the banner has undergone something of an art evolution. Since I drew the old banner last year I've taken an art class and wow, what a difference it has made! I would love to take more, but now that I have a hypothetical B.S. Biology degree this may prove difficult. We'll see how it evolves next year.

So who's on it?

Discussed here, this is a damaged cat skull (note the missing upper right canine) which I dug up in the woods near my house. The odd characters (sagittal crest, closed postorbital bars) may be related to large size; while I can't rule out an exotic hybrid, this is probably within the range of variation for house cats. I certainly won't let myself fall prey to phylogenetic roulette!

The last thoracic vertebrae and first two dorsal vertebrae from Basilosaurus cetoides, an Eocene stem-cetacean. As I discussed here, the vertebral count from a smaller relative suggests that B. cetoides was even larger and more ridiculously elongated than previously imagined. I'd love to see how these big, extreme vertebrae worked.

Mesoplodon densirostris - I've written quite a lot of posts about beaked whales so a representative is obligatory.

The start of my lazy bird silhouette series, this is a generalized frigatebird (Fregata sp.). They're incredible fliers and I would love to see them in real life.

Turkey vultures (Cathartes aura) are ubiquitous but amazing animals none the less. I saw one getting mobbed the other day and they're capable of some incredibly spry moves for animals that spend most of their time soaring. I've written about cathartids numerous times.

The cirroctopod Opisthoteuthis is the closest an organism has come to resembling a plush animal. They're frequently mentioned in my numerous cephalopod posts. I can't talk about the fish, just some poeciliid of no consequence.

No, it isn't an exogorth, this is an amphibian known as a caecilian. They're the most poorly known major tetrapod clade and their relation to other lissamphibians still seems up for debate. The structure located between the rudimentary eye and the nostril is a sensory tentacle. I have yet to seriously discuss them.

Softshell turtles (Trionychidae) are highly derived cryptodires which traded in a bulky carapace for their titular comparably strong and flexible shell. I've mentioned them here.

Wow, no references. I'll have to make up for that...


Caitling said...

I think I'm going to have to demand a new one every year if your artistic abilities keep on progressing at the same rate.

Also, I think we should try to add a rabbit skull (with included neck vertebrae) to the collection.

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