shichahn: (Default)


Jinfengopteryx is a troodontid, though when it was first discovered it was considered a bird and a relative of Archaeopteryx. Troodontids have an unusual feature shared only with owls and no other known animal - their ears are asymmetrical, with one ear higher on the skull than the other. This allows for a much easier time pinpointing the location of something the animal hears, and this, plus the large eyes in this family, suggest that troodontids, like owls, may have been nocturnal or crepuscular predators - although the most complete Jinfengopteryx skeleton had seeds in its digestive tract, and based on tooth shape, it and other troodontids may have been omnivorous.
shichahn: ([ITC] Moss - Nerding)
Last one for today: a Microraptor gui, in true color.



I've written about these little guys before. We know they were a glossy iridescent black, and we know they were either very common or lived in large flocks, or both. They seem to be the Cretaceous' answer to crows or blackbirds.
shichahn: (Feets!)
Just a quick one this morning, mostly a result of me trying to picture how those funny arms Mononykus/Shuvuuia and their relatives have could be actually useful for getting at food.

Edit: I re-cropped the image and added a touch of color via some gradients. Just playing around but I think I like this version better. The original drawing is within the cut.



Click for original version )

Drawing rotting stumps is actually pretty fun, I've decided.

I think Microraptor will be next. Drawing iridescence should be interesting.
shichahn: (Default)
I don't think anyone actually reads this but if you are, hello! I'm just sort of going to use this as a place to dump and organize art for now, I think. If anyone actually is reading this and wants me to put images behind a cut, let me know.



Alvarezsaur, based on Mononykus/Shuvuuia. While these insectivores are speculated to have used their claws to tear open logs in search of termites, they were also fast, agile runners and likely would have taken opportunity of a passing dragonfly.
shichahn: (Feets!)
So, as most of you probably know, one of the latest advances in dinosaur reconstruction is identifying their coloration. We can do this by looking at the microscopic structures in dinosaur feathers, called melanosomes, in which certain melanosome shapes yield specific colors in the resulting feather. Previously, we had identified the colors of three dinosaurs: Sinosauropteryx, Anchiornis, and Archaeopteryx.

The latest addition is the coloration of Microraptor gui, which struck paleontologists as particularly remarkable when it was discovered - this dinosaur has four wings, rather than two. The front limbs as well as the back limbs are winged, giving it an unusual, biplane-like appearance. It is suspected that the surface area added by the lower/rear wings aided this animal in gliding from branches, rather than being used for powered, flapping flight like in modern birds.

But there's something else we should take from this image, the latest artistic rendering of Microraptor, as released yesterday by the American Museum of Natural History: the line between dinosaur and bird gets ever-fuzzier with each new discovery.



Microraptor had iridescent black plumage like Archaeopteryx, and like modern crows and blackbirds. That particular plumage coloration is usually for feather strength. Black feathers are more resistant to sun wear than other colors, so for birds that spend a lot of time in edge or open habitats, this is important for keeping feathers in good condition. Learning the coloration of Microraptor tells us that this dinosaur lived in relatively open areas, while its gliding style suggests that there was some kind of structure in those habitats as well - so a wooded edge, perhaps, or shrubland, or even the forest canopy, might have been where Microraptor lived. Its size - about that of a pigeon - and sharp teeth and talons suggest that it ate small vertebrate prey, and some Microraptor skeletons have small mammal and dinosaur/bird bones in the stomach. Around 300 fossils of this animal have been found, which is a rather incredible number. It was likely very common in ancient China, which makes it again very similar to today's blackbirds. Each little piece of information informs us further about its lifestyle - remarkable for something that has been extinct for nearly 120 million years.

I keep looking at that picture, above. And I want to show it to anyone who still believes that birds are not dinosaurs. Not that dinosaurs and birds are related, no - because that is a fairly well-established scientific fact by now, and anyone who still supports the ancestral archosaur hypothesis probably lives under a rock. But beyond that, birds are dinosaurs. If we can look at the skeleton of a Microraptor, or an Anchiornis or even a Sinosauropteryx and call it a dinosaur, and then look at the skeleton of a chicken or a hawk or an ostrich, the only thing that separates these animals is time. Yes, birds today are toothless, and many of them have strong flight muscles. But we have found toothless, beaked dinosaurs. Not the plant-eating kind, but the carnivorous birdlike Limusaurus. We also have a number of modern birds without strong flight muscles - think kiwis, cassowaries, emus, ostriches, and many others. So that does not separate birds and dinosaurs either. Birds are part of a long, continuous line of theropod dinosaurs which survived the mass extinction at the K-T boundary. They have evolved and rapidly diversified since then, but that does not make them not dinosaurs. It makes them survivors.
shichahn: (Feets!)
Oh man, I have posted too many times today. This is nuts.

First off, don't forget about the SOPA thing. That is incredibly important. Go do that.

Secondly, for those who do not have [livejournal.com profile] tinylongwing friended, go see my latest entry there if you want to read about Pele, a passage Cooper's hawk.

Finally, a little update on my life! Yesterday I had a meeting with the guy at Arkansas Game and Fish who is getting me funding for my MS project, now starting sometime in the spring. So that's still coming along, we're just waiting for the funding to make its way through the state government and on to us. It's a much slower process than it was supposed to be, but that's bureaucracy and science funding in the current political climate, unfortunately. It'll come through eventually.

More immediately exciting is that I am volunteering to help out with the project of another student in my graduate lab. Her project is focusing on optimal foraging of red-tailed hawks and American kestrels here in agricultural fields around Jonesboro. (Why is this not my project, you ask? Because I chose the one that had funding attached. Hawks are cool, but getting paid to go to grad school is even cooler.) What this means for us right now is that we have to go out and trap and band a bunch of redtails and kestrels, which is good fun.

Pics below )
shichahn: (Feets!)
Oh man, I have posted too many times today. This is nuts.

First off, don't forget about the SOPA thing. That is incredibly important. Go do that.

Secondly, for those who do not have [livejournal.com profile] tinylongwing friended, go see my latest entry there if you want to read about Pele, a passage Cooper's hawk.

Finally, a little update on my life! Yesterday I had a meeting with the guy at Arkansas Game and Fish who is getting me funding for my MS project, now starting sometime in the spring. So that's still coming along, we're just waiting for the funding to make its way through the state government and on to us. It's a much slower process than it was supposed to be, but that's bureaucracy and science funding in the current political climate, unfortunately. It'll come through eventually.

More immediately exciting is that I am volunteering to help out with the project of another student in my graduate lab. Her project is focusing on optimal foraging of red-tailed hawks and American kestrels here in agricultural fields around Jonesboro. (Why is this not my project, you ask? Because I chose the one that had funding attached. Hawks are cool, but getting paid to go to grad school is even cooler.) What this means for us right now is that we have to go out and trap and band a bunch of redtails and kestrels, which is good fun.

Pics below )
shichahn: (Default)
Hey everyone, I'm back from Tinian (I know, I know, you didn't even know I was gone). Today, I bring you lots of sketches, done over the past three years but mostly weighted toward things done more recently. This is by no means the entire contents of my sketchbook, obviously, but just a few highlights I thought people might be interested in seeing. As will not surprise you, the majority of my sketchbook, academic exercises aside, consists of drawings of birds and various bits of fanart. Shocking, I know.

Aplomado falcon on yucca
Weird made-up birds
Ducks
Pied currawongs
Hedgehog
Crows
Ibis sketches
Glossy Ibis
Tex
Collared kingfisher
Misc. Harem AU stuff
Rufous fantail
More AU stuff
Gamma
Delta
More Tex

Edit: Obviously not out of my sketchbook, but I thought I'd just tack it on to the end here: Omega
shichahn: (Default)
Hey everyone, I'm back from Tinian (I know, I know, you didn't even know I was gone). Today, I bring you lots of sketches, done over the past three years but mostly weighted toward things done more recently. This is by no means the entire contents of my sketchbook, obviously, but just a few highlights I thought people might be interested in seeing. As will not surprise you, the majority of my sketchbook, academic exercises aside, consists of drawings of birds and various bits of fanart. Shocking, I know.

Aplomado falcon on yucca
Weird made-up birds
Ducks
Pied currawongs
Hedgehog
Crows
Ibis sketches
Glossy Ibis
Tex
Collared kingfisher
Misc. Harem AU stuff
Rufous fantail
More AU stuff
Gamma
Delta
More Tex

Edit: Obviously not out of my sketchbook, but I thought I'd just tack it on to the end here: Omega
shichahn: (Feets!)
I'm really, really glad you guys didn't have a tie on the final vote, that would've been kind of hard to fix. So, according to you guys, the two best birds (of the ones to pick from, anyway) are the Golden Eagle and the American Kestrel! North America's largest raptor and also its smallest, haha.





The two votes the kestrel received on the last poll were the only two votes it ever received in the entire course of the meme! You guys really like that little bird. It's okay, I do too. ;D

Anyway, that concludes our island bird poll. Which as we all know, was much better than voting for stupid-looking people. The end.
shichahn: (Feets!)
I'm really, really glad you guys didn't have a tie on the final vote, that would've been kind of hard to fix. So, according to you guys, the two best birds (of the ones to pick from, anyway) are the Golden Eagle and the American Kestrel! North America's largest raptor and also its smallest, haha.





The two votes the kestrel received on the last poll were the only two votes it ever received in the entire course of the meme! You guys really like that little bird. It's okay, I do too. ;D

Anyway, that concludes our island bird poll. Which as we all know, was much better than voting for stupid-looking people. The end.
shichahn: ([RvB] Booyeah motherfucker)
Last time on the island bird meme, you guys voted off the Red-Tailed Hawk and the Merlin. Congratulations to our bronze medalists!





The final winner, who will it be? )
shichahn: ([RvB] Booyeah motherfucker)
Last time on the island bird meme, you guys voted off the Red-Tailed Hawk and the Merlin. Congratulations to our bronze medalists!





The final winner, who will it be? )
shichahn: (Feets!)
BUT FIRST, A PSA: RED VS BLUE REVELATION, EPISODE 20, WILL BE RELEASED TO SPONSORS TOMORROW (SATURDAY) AFTERNOON. Just in case any of you missed that, since I almost did.

And now, birds. Previously on the Island Bird Meme, the Ornate Hawk-Eagle and the Aplomado Falcon were voted off. :(





Who will get the bronze medal for most visually attractive hawk/eagle and falcon?
Let's find out! )
shichahn: (Feets!)
BUT FIRST, A PSA: RED VS BLUE REVELATION, EPISODE 20, WILL BE RELEASED TO SPONSORS TOMORROW (SATURDAY) AFTERNOON. Just in case any of you missed that, since I almost did.

And now, birds. Previously on the Island Bird Meme, the Ornate Hawk-Eagle and the Aplomado Falcon were voted off. :(





Who will get the bronze medal for most visually attractive hawk/eagle and falcon?
Let's find out! )
shichahn: ([ITC] My milky lens!)
Man, you guys really like ties. Sort this one out for me and I'll get back to you with the usual poll tomorrow.

Red-Tailed Hawk


vs

Ornate Hawk-Eagle


[Poll #1616720]
shichahn: ([ITC] My milky lens!)
Man, you guys really like ties. Sort this one out for me and I'll get back to you with the usual poll tomorrow.

Red-Tailed Hawk


vs

Ornate Hawk-Eagle


[Poll #1616720]
shichahn: (Default)
Didn't get around to posting this yesterday, because I was gone most of the day to go check out the ADORABLE FLUFFY BABY SHEARWATERS over on Managaha Island, and then came back and tied up my internet for six and a half hours trying to download RvB. Damn you, Monty, for making fantastic episodes which equate to large filesizes. :(

BUT. The day before that, you guys voted off the red-shouldered hawk, and the gyrfalcon.

Goodbye, pretty birdies! )
shichahn: (Default)
Didn't get around to posting this yesterday, because I was gone most of the day to go check out the ADORABLE FLUFFY BABY SHEARWATERS over on Managaha Island, and then came back and tied up my internet for six and a half hours trying to download RvB. Damn you, Monty, for making fantastic episodes which equate to large filesizes. :(

BUT. The day before that, you guys voted off the red-shouldered hawk, and the gyrfalcon.

Goodbye, pretty birdies! )
shichahn: (Default)
Well, you did it, enough of you switched votes from the Ornate to the Gos and got rid of it. Shame on you. Harlot will come for you in your sleep now, you know. Oh, and the bat falcon was also voted out.

Look at this poor pretty hawk you turned away, sob )

Also, as a side note, I think this may be one of my favorite photos, ever:
Hunter, eagle, bus

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