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Posts tagged marine reptile month 2014

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Marine Reptile Month #27 — Platypterygius
Early to Late Cretaceous period (~145-93 mya)
Since we started the month with one of the earliest ichthyopterygians, let’s finish off with one of the last. Platypterygius was the only ichthyosaur genus known to have made it through a mid-Cretaceous extinction event, surviving for a few more million years as the last example of its kind before also disappearing. Growing to around 7m long (23ft), it had up to ten fingers in its “hands” giving it particularly broad front flippers.

One specimen shows healed-over bite marks in the lower jaw that appear to have been made by the teeth of another ichthyosaur. So, a little like some modern cetaceans, this particular Platypterygius has quite a few scratches and scars visible over its body.
Color palette used: “Iwatobi”

Marine Reptile Month #27 — Platypterygius

Early to Late Cretaceous period (~145-93 mya)

Since we started the month with one of the earliest ichthyopterygians, let’s finish off with one of the last. Platypterygius was the only ichthyosaur genus known to have made it through a mid-Cretaceous extinction event, surviving for a few more million years as the last example of its kind before also disappearing. Growing to around 7m long (23ft), it had up to ten fingers in its “hands” giving it particularly broad front flippers.

One specimen shows healed-over bite marks in the lower jaw that appear to have been made by the teeth of another ichthyosaur. So, a little like some modern cetaceans, this particular Platypterygius has quite a few scratches and scars visible over its body.

Color palette used: “Iwatobi

Filed under art paleoart paleontology colourpod marine reptile month 2014 platypterygius opthalmosauridae ichthyosaur ichthyopterygia Marine Reptiles 3D render nix's adventures in the zbrush learning curve zbrush

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Marine Reptile Month #26 — Atopodentatus
Middle Triassic period (247-242 mya)
Named in early 2014, Atopodentatus is probably the strangest Triassic marine reptile so far. At 3m long (9ft 10in) with a long body, short neck, and stout limbs, it seems to have had a semi-aquatic lifestyle spending time both on land and in the water.
But that’s not the weird part.
It had an absolutely bizarre skull, with a downturned hook on each side of its snout and a vertical split running up the front full of many small zipper-like interlocking teeth. It’s been compared to cartoon monsters and Lovecraftian eldritch horrors. Just what it did with such a highly specialized mouth is unknown — although it may have used it for filter-feeding, sieving tiny prey from mud and silt like modern flamingos or gray whales.
Color palette used: “Star Cycle”

Marine Reptile Month #26 — Atopodentatus

Middle Triassic period (247-242 mya)

Named in early 2014, Atopodentatus is probably the strangest Triassic marine reptile so far. At 3m long (9ft 10in) with a long body, short neck, and stout limbs, it seems to have had a semi-aquatic lifestyle spending time both on land and in the water.

But that’s not the weird part.

It had an absolutely bizarre skull, with a downturned hook on each side of its snout and a vertical split running up the front full of many small zipper-like interlocking teeth. It’s been compared to cartoon monsters and Lovecraftian eldritch horrors. Just what it did with such a highly specialized mouth is unknown — although it may have used it for filter-feeding, sieving tiny prey from mud and silt like modern flamingos or gray whales.

Color palette used: “Star Cycle

Filed under art paleoart paleontology colourpod marine reptile month 2014 atopodentatus sauropterygia ...maybe Marine Reptiles its face has been called 'nightmarish' a lot but Nix personally thinks Atopodentatus is adorable cthulhu fhtagn

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Marine Reptile Month #25 — Vancleavea
Late Triassic period (228-203 mya)
Vancleavea was an unusual late-surviving “non-archosaurian archosauriform”, which basically means it was about as closely related to the archosauria as it’s possible to get without actually being one. 1.2m long (3ft 11in) and covered in overlapping armored scales, its short limbs, deep tail, and upwards-facing nostrils suggest it was a semi-aquatic swimming animal.
Uniquely among all known tetrapods, it also formed its vertical upper tail fin from a row of highly elongated ostederms.
Color palette used: “Shirley the Medium”

Marine Reptile Month #25 — Vancleavea

Late Triassic period (228-203 mya)

Vancleavea was an unusual late-surviving “non-archosaurian archosauriform”, which basically means it was about as closely related to the archosauria as it’s possible to get without actually being one. 1.2m long (3ft 11in) and covered in overlapping armored scales, its short limbs, deep tail, and upwards-facing nostrils suggest it was a semi-aquatic swimming animal.

Uniquely among all known tetrapods, it also formed its vertical upper tail fin from a row of highly elongated ostederms.

Color palette used: “Shirley the Medium

Filed under art paleoart paleontology colourpod marine reptile month 2014 vancleavea archosauriformes Marine Reptiles triassic

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Marine Reptile Month #24 — Askeptosaurus
Middle Triassic period (247-242 mya)
The askeptosaurids had longer necks and narrower snouts than other thalattosaurs, and appear to have been adapted to hunt fish in deeper water.
Askeptosaurus was very thin and elongated, with a flexible eel-like tail making up around half of its 2m length (6ft 6in). Its relatively large eyes, supported by a bony sclerotic ring much like those of ichthyosaurs, would have allowed it good vision in low light levels.
Color palette used: “Aftermath”

Marine Reptile Month #24 — Askeptosaurus

Middle Triassic period (247-242 mya)

The askeptosaurids had longer necks and narrower snouts than other thalattosaurs, and appear to have been adapted to hunt fish in deeper water.

Askeptosaurus was very thin and elongated, with a flexible eel-like tail making up around half of its 2m length (6ft 6in). Its relatively large eyes, supported by a bony sclerotic ring much like those of ichthyosaurs, would have allowed it good vision in low light levels.

Color palette used: “Aftermath

Filed under art paleoart paleontology colourpod marine reptile month 2014 askeptosaurus askeptosauroidea thalattosauria Marine Reptiles triassic

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Marine Reptile Month #23 — Hupehsuchus
Early Triassic period (~251-247 Ma)
The hupehsuchians were icthyosaur-like marine reptiles which may or may not be a sister group to early icthyopterygians like Utatsusaurus. They had long narrow snouts, flipper-like limbs (some displaying polydactyly), and bony armor along their spines. One genus named earlier this year, Parahupehsuchus, even modified its entire ribcage into a rigid bone “body tube”.
Hupehsuchus itself was about 1m long (3ft 3in), and its toothless beak-like snout may have been an adaptation for ram feeding.
Color palette used: “[1LP] Tylee”

Marine Reptile Month #23 — Hupehsuchus

Early Triassic period (~251-247 Ma)

The hupehsuchians were icthyosaur-like marine reptiles which may or may not be a sister group to early icthyopterygians like Utatsusaurus. They had long narrow snouts, flipper-like limbs (some displaying polydactyly), and bony armor along their spines. One genus named earlier this year, Parahupehsuchus, even modified its entire ribcage into a rigid bone “body tube”.

Hupehsuchus itself was about 1m long (3ft 3in), and its toothless beak-like snout may have been an adaptation for ram feeding.

Color palette used: “[1LP] Tylee

Filed under art paleoart paleontology colourpod marine reptile month 2014 hupehsuchus hupehsuchia Marine Reptiles triassic

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Marine Reptile Month #22 — Pachypleurosaurus
Middle Triassic period (~242-235 mya)
Despite having an incredibly similar name, Pachypleurosaurus doesn’t have anything to do with yesterday’s Pleurosaurus. This 1m long (3ft 3in) marine reptile was a basal sauropterygian, closely related to both nothosaurs and plesiosaurs. Unlike the highly adapted flippers of the later plesiosaurs, the limbs of pachypleurosaurs were still very similar to those of terrestrial reptiles, and they probably swam with undulating motions rather than paddling.
Color palette used: “Laced Pastries”

Marine Reptile Month #22 — Pachypleurosaurus

Middle Triassic period (~242-235 mya)

Despite having an incredibly similar name, Pachypleurosaurus doesn’t have anything to do with yesterday’s Pleurosaurus. This 1m long (3ft 3in) marine reptile was a basal sauropterygian, closely related to both nothosaurs and plesiosaurs. Unlike the highly adapted flippers of the later plesiosaurs, the limbs of pachypleurosaurs were still very similar to those of terrestrial reptiles, and they probably swam with undulating motions rather than paddling.

Color palette used: “Laced Pastries

Filed under art paleoart paleontology colourpod marine reptile month 2014 pachypleurosaurus pachypleurosauria sauropterygia Marine Reptiles kind of looks like neapolitan ice cream triassic

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Marine Reptile Month #21 — Pleurosaurus
Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous period (~152-140 mya)
The pleurosaurs were aquatic members of the rhynchocephalians, a once-widespread group of lizard-like reptiles represented today by just a single genus, the tuatara.
About 60cm long (2ft), Pleurosaurus had a highly elongated body with short limbs and a powerful tail, and was probably capable of fast swimming with an undulating eel-like motion.
Color palette used: “50 Shades of Baby Food”

Marine Reptile Month #21 — Pleurosaurus

Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous period (~152-140 mya)

The pleurosaurs were aquatic members of the rhynchocephalians, a once-widespread group of lizard-like reptiles represented today by just a single genus, the tuatara.

About 60cm long (2ft), Pleurosaurus had a highly elongated body with short limbs and a powerful tail, and was probably capable of fast swimming with an undulating eel-like motion.

Color palette used: “50 Shades of Baby Food

Filed under art paleoart paleontology colourpod marine reptile month 2014 pleurosaurus pleurosaur rhynchocephalia Marine Reptiles some of these 'ugly' color schemes actually work pretty well

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Marine Reptile Month #20 — Trinacromerum
Late Cretaceous period (~100-89 mya)
With short necks and elongated heads, the polycotylid plesiosaurs look very similar to the pliosaurs — but they were actually members of the mostly long-necked plesiosauroids instead.
Trinacromerum’s streamlined shape and long flippers would have allowed it to swim at high speeds. At around 3m in length (9ft 10in), its life appearance had been likened to a giant “four-flippered penguin”.
Color palette used: “Blood Orange”

Marine Reptile Month #20 — Trinacromerum

Late Cretaceous period (~100-89 mya)

With short necks and elongated heads, the polycotylid plesiosaurs look very similar to the pliosaurs — but they were actually members of the mostly long-necked plesiosauroids instead.

Trinacromerum’s streamlined shape and long flippers would have allowed it to swim at high speeds. At around 3m in length (9ft 10in), its life appearance had been likened to a giant “four-flippered penguin”.

Color palette used: “Blood Orange

Filed under art paleoart paleontology colourpod marine reptile month 2014 pixel art trinacromerum polycotylidae plesiosaur sauropterygia Marine Reptiles

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Marine Reptile Month #19 — Qianosuchus
Middle Triassic period (~247-242 mya)
The oldest archosaur known to have taken up a semi-aquatic lifestyle, the 3m long (9ft 10in) Qianosuchus was a member of the poposauroids, an unusual group of stem-crocodyllians that also included sail-backed forms and dinosaur-mimics. It had a deep vertically-flattened tail adapted for propulsion, and dagger-like teeth to keep hold of slippery marine prey, but also retained long erect limbs well-developed for running on land.
I’ve reconstructed it here with a very speculative coating of otter-like fuzz (obscuring the small rows of reduced osteoderms in the skin along its back), because I like to do that kind of thing.
Color palette used: “Portal”

Marine Reptile Month #19 — Qianosuchus

Middle Triassic period (~247-242 mya)

The oldest archosaur known to have taken up a semi-aquatic lifestyle, the 3m long (9ft 10in) Qianosuchus was a member of the poposauroids, an unusual group of stem-crocodyllians that also included sail-backed forms and dinosaur-mimics. It had a deep vertically-flattened tail adapted for propulsion, and dagger-like teeth to keep hold of slippery marine prey, but also retained long erect limbs well-developed for running on land.

I’ve reconstructed it here with a very speculative coating of otter-like fuzz (obscuring the small rows of reduced osteoderms in the skin along its back), because I like to do that kind of thing.

Color palette used: “Portal

Filed under art paleoart paleontology colourpod marine reptile month 2014 qianosuchus poposauroidea pseudosuchia archosaur crocodile feathers fuzzify ALL the archosaurs Marine Reptiles triassic

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Marine Reptile Month #18 — Plotosaurus
Late Cretaceous period (72-66 mya)
Plotosaurus was one of the most “advanced” mosasaurs in terms of anatomical adaptations, with a highly streamlined body and a large tail fin enabling it to swim at high speeds as a pursuit predator. It grew to lengths of between 9 and 13m (25’6”-42’8”), and probably fed on fish, ammonites, smaller marine reptiles, and aquatic birds — swallowing them almost whole thanks to snake-like flexible jaws.
And, yes, mosasaurs almost certainly had forked tongues. Based on their evolutionary relationships to varanoids and snakes, it’s also possible that they might have been venomous, too.
Color palette used: “Poesie”

Marine Reptile Month #18 — Plotosaurus

Late Cretaceous period (72-66 mya)

Plotosaurus was one of the most “advanced” mosasaurs in terms of anatomical adaptations, with a highly streamlined body and a large tail fin enabling it to swim at high speeds as a pursuit predator. It grew to lengths of between 9 and 13m (25’6”-42’8”), and probably fed on fish, ammonites, smaller marine reptiles, and aquatic birds — swallowing them almost whole thanks to snake-like flexible jaws.

And, yes, mosasaurs almost certainly had forked tongues. Based on their evolutionary relationships to varanoids and snakes, it’s also possible that they might have been venomous, too.

Color palette used: “Poesie

Filed under art paleoart paleontology colourpod marine reptile month 2014 plotosaurus mosasaur varanoidea Marine Reptiles