Makeup Eye Anatomy: The Eye Indentation of the Eyes or What I Call the Hinge

*Post originally written by Olivia J on The Unknown Beauty Blog. If you see this post other than its place of origin, it has been stolen.*

If you have been with me since the beginning of my blogging career.  (I'm sorry, I am chuckling to myself when I typed career.) Let me rephrase that, if you have been with me since the beginning of my B-List beauty blog journey, you will know that this is the part of the eye which I called the "hinge".
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The Greatest Beauty Blog Posts of My 7 Years

*Post originally written by Olivia J on The Unknown Beauty Blog. If you see this post elsewhere, it has been stolen.*

The Hits and the misses. My beauty blog is 7 (lucky? or unlucky?) years old this month.  In the beginning I have read posts on how to make my blog better and how to get the attention of PR.  Oh yeah, all that reading and, honestly, it was bullshit!
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How To Clean Artis Makeup Brushes - Fast and Efficiently

*Post originally written by Olivia J on The Unknown Beauty Blog. If you see this post elsewhere, it has been stolen.*

Funny how a shape of a makeup brush or in this case a revolutionary new design can make cleaning a bit baffling.  Artis makeup brushes brings up more questions about this than answers to makeup application.  Due to their high density of synthetic hair, cleaning them the normal soak-and-wash method may not seem applicable.  After all, you spent all that money on them, you do want them as clean as possible without any damage.  Fear not!  There is a simple way to clean these brushes without ruining them.

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Vintage Dinosaur Art: Predatory Dinosaurs of the World - Part 2

It's back - Greg Paul's 1988 magnum opus, Predatory Dinosaurs of the World. As we established in the first post, it's long deserved its prime position in the Palaeoart Hall of Fame, having been not only highly prescient but also hugely influential on almost everyone interested in reconstructing Mesozoic theropods. It was stuffed with the sort of truly fantastic and uniquely observed artwork you just didn't see anywhere else - theropods fighting ritualistically, having a nap, and gathering in family groups around a carcass.

Really, I've just included the above piece (featuring Allosaurus) because it's really, really cool. The animals (for all their dated, pronated forearms) remain incredibly convincing, the result of not only Paul's meticulous attention to anatomical detail, but his equally careful and intricate approach to scalation and skin texture. This is also a beautiful portrayal of everyday dinosaur life, placing the viewer right in the midst of this allosaur gathering, eye-to-eye with one of the beasts. It's hugely evocative and endlessly fascinating to look at.

Not that I don't appreciate a more typical hunting scene, of course. Here, Gorgosaurus confronts Styracosaurus (or should that be Albertosaurus and...hnngghh...Monoclonius). Based on the multiple dates, this would appear to be an earlier piece that has been reworked for the book - a commendably brave practice on Paul's part. No backup copies here...

There has been much discussion recently on the subject of theropod 'lips'. In the last couple of decades, it seems that most reconstructions of theropods (especially large ones) have depicted them with their upper teeth visible when the mouth is closed. However, most reconstructions prior to that gave the animals lizardy 'lips' that completely concealed the teeth, an idea that has recently become popular again. It's lead people to wonder - who popularised the 'overhanging teeth' look? The Jurassic Park T. rex can surely shoulder a lot of the blame, although it was the only creature to sport such a look in a film full of 'lippy' dinosaurs. PDW makes things clearer - Paul advocates 'lips', but his tyrannosaurs still have protruding teeth (as above). It seems likely that the JP Rexy was influenced by Paul in this respect, leading to the proliferation of goofy-toothed theropods in artwork. (Incidentally, Paul would appear to have since become an advocate of full 'lips' on tyrannosaurs, too.)

Given that so many Paulian palaeoart memes are now being rejected as outdated, it's amusing to consider that, where he was most ahead of his time, contemporary artists failed (or refused) to follow. As a kid, I saw plenty of images of a scaly Compsognathus chasing after Archaeopteryx, but never a fuzzy version. Of course, Compsognathus is far from the only small coelurosaur to receive this treatment...

...for here is Ornitholestes, resplendent in spotted black plumage. While John McLoughlin had drawn a fuzzy Ornitholestes nine years earlier, this illustration is still hugely prescient for 1988. Even in Walking With Dinosaurs (1999), Ornitholetes is depicted as a scaly creature with quills only on the back of its neck. Equally unusual in this illustration is the depiction of the animal climbing a tree, Paul's point being that a great many small theropods would probably have had no trouble clambering around in branches had the occasion called for it (pertinent in the context of the origins of avian flight). Even given the impossi-hands in the illustration, it's an intriguing thought, and the arboreality of various theropod lineages continues to be hotly contested in the literature and elsewhere.

Never mind the nose horn.

In a comment on my previous post on PDW, Herman D asked if I could upload a scan of Paul's Deinonychus chick. Well, here it is, another beautifully fluffy little theropod. Taking a cue from modern animals, Paul's raptor babies sport spotty plumage quite different from that of the adults, the better to remain inconspicuous. Just lovely.

Much as Paul's decision to apply plumage to his non-avian coelurosaurs was admirably far-sighted, he did make some peculiar decisions when depicting birds (or, theropods popularly thought of as birds. Quiet at the back). Scantily-clad phorusrhacids aside, the accurately-attached feathers on the arms of his Archaeopteryx don't seem to quite match the minimal, figure-hugging plumage on the body. That triangular wedge of a pelvis is quite alarming.

Of course, one can't fault the consistency in Paul's style - after all, his dromaeosaurs look much like this, too. However, it does highlight that, even if Paul remains one of the most important paleoartists in the history of the genre, his much-copied approach is just that - his particular approach. That's the point made in All Yesterdays, but it bears repeating. Artists can learn a great deal from Paul's anatomical rigour, but shouldn't constrain themselves to aping his popular style, as so many have done over the last 20 years. I'm sure the man himself would agree.

Then again...those eyespots on the wings! The marvellous concept of these animals resolving their disputes through ritualistic display! Sometimes, one can't help but be a Paul fanboy.

And finally...many readers will be familiar with the copious taxonomic lumping in PDW (Velociraptor antirrhopus, anyone?), but I wonder how many of you remember that Paul even found room for dinosauromorphs like Lagosuchus (above) in the book - as the earliest dinosaurs ('paleodinosaurs'). It's an idea he's abandoned since, but it remains fascinatingly unorthodox. I bet he wound everyone up with that one.

The Brow Bone and Lid Area of the Many Eye Shapes

*Post originally written by Olivia J on The Unknown Beauty Blog. If you see this post other than the place of origin, it has been stolen.*

When you look into the mirror or even when you allow your brush to apply eyeshadow, what you see is not exactly what you want.  Take for example the brow bone and lid.  These two parts of the eyes really change with age.
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Mesozoic Miscellany 86

In the News

The most complete ctenochasmid pterosaur to date has been described in PLoS One, a juvenile specimen of Gladocephaloideus.

Two new (but pretty scrappy) theropods from Patagonia have been described: the carcharodontosauroid Taurovenator and the megaraptoran Aoniraptor. Check out the PDF here. These come from "a single locality located in northwestern Río Negro province, Patagonia, Argentina. This theropod association is composed of abelisauroids, two different-sized carcharodontosaurid allosauroids, a coelurosaur of uncertain relationships, a megaraptoran tyrannosauroid, and a possible unenlagiid paravian."

Around the Dinoblogosphere

Darren Naish has been writing a series on our current understanding of that beloved clade, Maniraptora. Start there, and then hit parts two and three. Oh yeah: like cassowaries? Darren wrote about them, too.

At the PLoS One paleo blog, Jon Tennant writes about sexing a T.rex.

"With a little help from his knife-wielding Grandmother Maribel, and friends Starlee and Captain Jim, Nate opens a restaurant that secretly serves dinosaur meat." So... read more from Prehistoric Pulp.

Brian Switek interviewed Victoria Arbour about her recent investigation into "Ankylosaur Fight Club," the paleoart depictions of battlin' tank-o-saurs and the physical evidence that exists for such interactions.

Beyond Bones, the Houston Museum of Natural History blog, told the story of the Chicxulub crater recently.

What the heck were dromaeosaurs doing with their wingy-army-thingies? Duane Nash has some ideas.

I recently priced tickets for a trip to New York City to see the "Dinosaurs Among Us" exhibition. I'm hoping it moves to a closer museum! For a preview, Albertonykus just visited and has a report for us at Raptormaniacs.

Check out Rebecca Groom's plushie Dakotaraptor, a perk in the Saurian Kickstarter at the $600 pledge level (currently sold out).

Speaking of Saurian, check out their recent post on the Hell Creek hadrosaur, and their reasoning for what they're calling it (even though I'll be whispering "Anatotitan" when I encounter it).

At Expedition Live!, Dr. Lindsay Zanno has been chronicling this summer's field work, including the not so hellish Hell Creek and a very good day which may have seen the discovery of a beauty of a Triceratops skull.

Crowdfunding Pick

On the crowdfunding platform Walacea, you can help Stephen Durham of the Paleontological Research Institute in Ithaca, New York fund his lab's work in Amino Acid Racemization geochronology, which can help us learn more about past climate change through mollusk shells. There is just a bit over two weeks left on the campaign, with about a third of the goal reached.

An update on another campaign from Walacea: The Virtual Museum of Natural History did not reach its initial funding goal, but the team is rethinking some aspects and keeping the campaign open-ended. So the more they get, the better they can make the app! Head over and kick in some money to help the team make this very cool educational tool.

Paleoart Pick

Check out Fred Wierum's Brontosmash animation. Gloriously retro depiction of a contemporary behavioral hypothesis.

The Similiarities and Differences of the Many Eye Shapes for Makeup - The Orbital Ridge

*Post originally written by Olivia J on The Unknown Beauty Blog. If you see this post other than the place of origin, it has been stolen.*

All eyes are the same in terms of the anatomy, yet they aren't the same in terms of shape.  Yet beauty books tend to generalize eye shape to the point where if you don't have the certain eye shape mentioned, then there really is no eyeshadow hope for you.
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The Positive Vibes of Skin Again Relief Lotion

*Post originally written by Olivia J on The Unknown Beauty Blog If you read this post elsewhere, it has been stolen.
PR sample.*

Skin Again is a skin care line that promotes a quality many take for granted when thinking beauty — positive energy.  You may think it is silly to include positive energy in a beauty product, but in the world we live in today, finding good things can be found in the strangest places.

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The Grapplers

I think about fighting theropods a lot. Since you're visiting this blog, you likely do as well: the scenario of two multi-ton predators going at it with tooth, talon and claw has long been a staple of paleoart, and remains one of the most popular subjects of dinosaur illustration. These kinds of fights certainly occurred occasionally--there's fossil evidence of some really nasty disagreements between tyrannosaurs, for example--but they've largely become either bloodless or cliche. Since I'm not personally interested in sketching gore, I thought a less-typical type of theropod fight might be fun to take a swing at.

But what sort of model to draw from? Perhaps certain big theropods settled things with showy displays and bellowing, but this doesn't always make for a compelling illustration, especially for an artist working with limited time. So I started thinking about some of the most compelling (and goofy) grapplers in the extant animal kingdom. I speak, of course, of monitors.

What's interesting about the conflict here is how quickly it's decided by weight and technique. Big dragons can easily kill each other, and sometimes they do. But mating disputes tend to be more ritualized affairs. Whether or not big theropods did something similar is hard to say--we don't really have a good analogue for the big-armed, big-clawed theropod body type anymore, since birds lack meathook forelimbs and crocodiles don't precisely wrestle. (Though as Darren Naish points out, passarine fights can get really unpleasant, and anybody who's encountered an annoyed swan is aware of how much use they get out of their wings in a scuffle.) It's possible that big theropod fights ended where most human fights do--on the ground. But I wanted to take the Monitor model of conflict for an artistic spin.

Abelisaurs were my first pick, in part because I found the idea of mostly armless dinosaurs neck-wrestling to be kind of fun. These are intended to be fairly generic, although they're based on Aucasaurus. The resulting fight is more of a shoving match, with both animals working on a fairly narrow margin of balance.

Still, it didn't seem quite right to me. So after more scribbling, I came up with a twist on the idea I liked better. Megalosaurs like Torvosaurus have big, hefty arms and powerful necks and chests: perfect for grappling dinosaurs. 

The result: two male Torvosaurs in the breeding season duke it out. Like the Komodo battle in the earlier clip, this tussle will be over pretty quickly: the male on the right is a bit smaller, likely younger, and has bitten off rather more than he can chew. I've chosen to emphasize the big, muscled forelimbs. Likely these battles would have been at least a bit bloody--everyone involved having massive claws--but I wanted to focus on the technique involved. Here's the finished sketch.

 Pretty goofy looking. But sometimes it works out that way.

The Tyrannosaur Chronicles competition: the winners

So who wins a copy of Doctor Dave's magnum opus? Predictably, we had a slew of excellent entries for this competition (eventually), but in the end we did have to pick that half dozen. And so, in no particular order (because they all win the same prize, after all), here they are - with commentary from Niroot and I.

Robin Liesens submitted two superb pieces, but Niroot and I felt that this one was the best. The image of T. rex opening its mouth very wide and attempting to deafen everyone is a very common trope, after all, even if it's not normally accompanied by a metal band. Here, the animal is crouched down, its mouth is closed, and it's flipping pancakes. Using its mouth. Which is very important, because the main mistake that...original series made was to assume that T. rex would even consider using its arms for the tasks presented. Who needs arms with a head like that? Also, this is adorable. The little red apron!

Niroot says: "I loved Robin's pancake-flipping T. rex from the moment it was submitted, and though I loved seeing all the entries, this remained my favourite. It's beautifully drawn, the red apron is indeed an adorable touch, and its whole approach feels rather kindred to my own - which I realise is a bit of a gross Vanity Fair on my part, but hey ho. And yes, it's using its ruddy mouth! Would it be impolitic of me to confess that if this contest had a prize tier, I would award this the first?"

We did get a few multi-panel submissions, and while a single, striking image was preferred overall, you could easily take the last panel of Ost's piece, subtract the text, and make a poster out of it. Or a t-shirt. (Have I already mentioned that I'd like a t-shirt of this?) I'm really not sure about that lifting-itself-with-its-arms hypothesis (the arms just seem totally unnecessary in that scenario), but...COME ON. Those sunglasses. The smile. The feathers arranged into an immaculate coiffure. It's totally tubular and deserving of a close-up, I reckon.

Still cracks me up.

Niroot says: "If I recall correctly, Ost has mentioned over on Twitter that a t-shirt of this is in the works! I agree about the last panel being able to stand perfectly on its own, but the sequence is a delight (and was also responsible for getting The Beach Boys' Surfin' U.S.A. stuck in my head for a while). Marc mentions this being his favourite chiefly for its colourful exuberance, à la Luis Rey. I can see why!"

Shelby Cheyenne's entry, meanwhile, is mostly just very pretty to look at, and she didn't half do well for someone who professes a complete lack of knowledge on theropod anatomy. Shelby's piece provides the long-needed answer to getting those festering tendrils of edmontosaur flesh out of one's teeth. The choice of a leucistic individual is also intriguing.

Niroot says: "I'd never have guessed Shelby's supposed lack of knowledge on the anatomy. Has there ever been a more elegantly seated T. rex brushing its teeth on a more immaculately shiny bathroom floor? That leucistic coat is just gorgeous, too. I feel as though I should name it Daenerys.."

This entry from Wombatsrock wins plaudits from me because, again, the emphasis is on how T. rex is doing quite well at something a little silly (in this case, skiing and looking resplendent in shiny goggles and blue pelt) without using its arms at all. "No need for poles, my weight carries ME down the slope!" Also, it makes me smile every time I look at it, which must be worth something. Maybe even a copy of The Tyrannosaur Chronicles.

Niroot says: "I think this one calls for an animation! Perhaps it could team up with the Surfin' T. rex for their own sporting series: From the Surf to the Slopes. Or... something."

I know, I know, Henry Sharpe's Rexy is using it arms. Aha, but you see, the arms are their correct lengths and it isn't employing some extend-o-gadget to compensate for them. Besides which, it's just a very handsomely drawn Tyrannosaurus that just happens to be carrying a percussion instrument. Just think how much more fun that scene in Jurassic Park would've been.

Niroot says: "Something about this is a little reminiscent of Brian Choo's work to me. Give this handsome rex a place in the Musikverein's Vienna New Year's Day Concert for the Radetzky March already!"
And finally...Nathan Hicks' simply superb Rexy Tennis. Absolutely postcard-perfect, with a winning mix of nattily dressed women, a summery green palette, and the threatening reptilian stare of a gigantic murderbird. Lovely stuff.

Niroot says: "Another beautifully painted rex elegantly using its foot! I also love its slightly mad stare of athletic determination. Pass the strawberries and cream, will you?"

Congratulations to all the winners! Please send a PM to our Facebook page to claim your prize, and if you can't do that, drop a comment below and we'll sort something out.

The Tyrannosaur Chronicles competition: the contenders

Like undergraduate students everywhere, you lot submitted a flurry of entries for our Tyrannosaur Chronicles competition right before the deadline. But no matter! You still got in. While the final six winners will ultimately be decided by us, I thought (as with previous competitions) it'd be fun to put up a gallery of all the entrants and gather some of your opinions before we dole out the books. So, in no particular order, here's a gallery of T. rex...TRIUMPHING!

To start, here's a fine entry from Nathan Hicks, depicting a never cuter Rexy engaging in a pleasant spot of tennis, "because it is summer" after all. Gorgeous. I particularly like Rexy's birdlike, staring eye, which conveys some strange mixture of innocence, madness and reptilian indifference.

I'm very happy that every single one of our competition pieces features an enfluffened Rexy. Henry Sharpe's tyrant is a competent drummer in spite of not being able to see its instrument; for as Henry explains, "if there's one thing [he's] learned from years of drumming, it's that visual ability isn't a requirement". Based on AMNH 5027, apparently.

J. Hakken's T. rex is...not actually trying, but rather throwing a razor away in disgust. Which I feel is slightly missing the point of the competition, but hey - at least there's still a nice rebuttal here to the shamefully anthropocentric concept of another series of drawings that we might be alluding to. And the leg stripes are very fetching.

Kaek's T. rex asks "what happened?" - I'm not sure, but the first thing that Nicole said when I showed her this one was "how did it apply the lipstick?", and I think she has a point. Perhaps the giant pterosaur in the makeup department did it (there's always one). Beautifully painted though.

Robin Liesens of Belgium submitted two pieces. While he'll only get the one book if he wins (sorry Robin), top marks for effort. At top, we have T. rex flipping pancakes using its mouth. Sounds obvious, but that's exactly what that...original series missed - clearly, T. rex's arms were vastly less important to it than its seriously impressive head. Also, it doesn't half look adorable in a red apron.

At the bottom, meanwhile, we have Metal Rexy. As Robin points out, T. rex's likely repertoire of guttural, low-frequency noises would be superb in a metal band. The microphone seems superfluous to requirements. No doubt gigs would be livened up by the devouring of the bassist during the encore.

On a very different note, Ellen (aka Pakasuchus)'s entry sees Sue grabbing a pair of oversized oars to traverse a delightfully storybook sea. Reminds me of the illustrated books of children's poetry I used to read, only none of them ever featured a feathered T. rex row, row, rowing its boat while hungrily eyeing a Canada goose. Alas.

Sam Barnett's Rexy is out hunting butterflies with a net, like a dastardly Victorian naturalist. Pinning them to a display board for the wall might be difficult, however.

PiedPiperPluto had a great concept - Ballerina Rexy! "She's trying her best." Alas, there wasn't enough time to finish the piece before the deadline. I do hope it gets finished, as I'd love to see it completed.

Owain Griffiths' doodle, on the other hand, just looks unfinished. But hey, I do love the slightly surreal sense of humour, with just the tiniest hint of the macabre. Reminds me of Blackgang Chine. "No vegetarians though, they tend to my teeth..."

Speaking of...teeth...Shelby Cheyenne's (or should that be Shikra Gib's? Or TalonV's) Rexy is doing fantastically well at maintaining dental hygiene. Intriguingly, this is a leucistic individual, and while Shelby admits to lacking much knowledge on theropod anatomy, the inspiration she took from modern birds is very obvious here, and the right foot is beautifully drawn, even if it's in a questionable position. (Hey, I never said anatomical accuracy was absolutely necessary...just preferred.) Great work.

Talcott Starr's terrifyingly red-eyed Rexy is apparently very good at Dungeons & Dragons. Whatever that is. Cute, and I love the maniraptoran moving a...playing piece over the...board...thing, although those disproportionately long arms feel like cheating.

Wombatsrock (hey, give us a name!) brings us this very cool blue skiing Rexy, who don't need no stinkin' poles to totally rock the slopes. The Good Dinosaur could have been vastly improved by this, instead of having cowboy tyrannosaurs that are their own steeds and round up cattle and blah. What a great image.
I've met R Griffin before, and I still can't remember his first name. SHAME ON ME. (If I see you again at Tetzoocon, Mr Griffin, I'll make it up to you.) In any case, his entry doubles as a damning indictment on the Selfie Generation. Here, preening Rexy is too busy utilising his extra-long mobile phone positioning device to notice that he's about to be reduced to a cloud of feathers and a smoking crater in the ground. Silly Rexy.

Andrew Raymond Stück decided to recast Lord of the Rings with Maastrichtian animals. While Rexy is surely a dubious choice for a hobbit, at least those famously short arms will prevent our hero from having to be carried up mountainsides by his chubby best friend. Gandarchid the Grey, meanwhile, is quite inspired, especially the palaeoart-meme pipe (Andrew says we can blame Mark Witton).

Gordon Goldhaber is referencing Sailor Moon here, which I've heard of, but that's about it. Still, I did look up Usagi on Wikipedia just now, then looked back at this, and had a little giggle to myself. I want to see the full body drawing (with dress) now, please.

Now this reference I do get - why, it's Sue cosplaying as Bowser (i.e. Mario's nemesis), as drawn by Cabbitwocky. I did mention earlier that all of our entrants featured a fluffy Rexy, and I have now been exposed as the filthy liar I surely am. However, one can suppose that the Bowser-style hairdo and eyebrows are just strategically shaved feather patches, and we're all good.

Joschua Knüppe decided to illustrate Rexy (who sports a fetching wooly jumper, for some reason) succeeding in launching a Kickstarter campaign, apparently bludgeoning the keyboard with his noggin rather than typing and yet still managing to raise thousands of dollars for what will be the greatest simulation of tyrannosaurs hunting and devouring things the world has ever seen. Nice references to contemporary events and world politics, there.

And finally...if some variation on that last panel isn't available as a t-shirt print in the near future, I won't be too happy. Make it happen, Ost.

Thank you very much to everyone who entered, you've produced some wonderful work! We'll be deliberating over the winners during the next few days, with a post to follow accordingly. To sign off for now, I asked Dave to send me a photo of himself posing with the book, preferably while grinning cheesily. To his credit, Dave managed to rope in none other than Tom Holtz. And posed in front of the Crystal Palace dinosaurs. Thanks Dave!

Mesozoic Miscellany 85

In the News

Two new ceratopsid taxa debuted simultaneously in PLoS One recently. Meet the new centrosaur Machairoceratops cronusi and new chasmosaur Spiclypeus shipporum, AKA Judith. Machairoceratops joins Diabloceratops as the second ceratopsid described from the Upper Cretaceous Wahweap Formation (though the two did not overlap in time), while Spiclypeus hails from farther north in the Judith River Formation. Read more on both from Liz Martin-Silverstone.

Spiclypeus is the subject of a gaffe by one science news site, which noted that the dinosaur "sported beautiful coloring akin to butterfly camouflage." Not everyone groks that paleoart relies on speculation and inference, I suppose. Maybe Mike Skrepnick's beautiful restoration is just that persuasive. Speaking of paleoart, see also Mark Witton's Machairoceratops and Brett Booth's Spiclypeus.

Recent research into Pawpawsaurus published by PLoS One looked inside the early Cretaceous nodosaurid's noggin to study its sensory capabilities. Read more at Earth Archives and Everything Dinosaur.

Jack Horner has retired from the Museum of the Rockies. The museum bid him farewell with a big public party, at which folks could check out field equipment and meet field crews. Good luck in retirement, Jack!

Around the Dinoblogosphere

Mark Witton trains a skeptical eye on the popular theory that Protoceratops was the origin of the griffin myth.

Meet Dr. Marina Suarez, who along with her twin sister is namesake of Geminiraptor suarezarem.

At Inverse, Jaqueline Ronson profiles one John Conway, a paleoartist of note.

Emily Willoughby tells the amazing story of the avian eye at GotScience.

Brian Switek and Laelaps have a new home. You can now read his excellent work at Scientific American.

Tails and wing feathers were in Matt Martyniuk's crosshairs at DinoGoss recently. He discusses the repeating meme of giving Microraptor-style tail fans and Caudipteryx-style mini-wings to feathered dinosaurs that probably would have looked more like Archaeopteryx, with lozenge-shaped tails and large wings. Not the end of the world but I'd probably rework a dromie I drew last year if I could.

Here's Scott Potter of Thagomizers on... the world of Awesomebro.

Crowdfunding Spotlight

Well, there certainly has been a lot going on since the last time I had the time to do one of these! We've seen Beasts of the Mesozoic and Saurian destroy their funding goals, providing more evidence that there is a decent market for scientifically-minded dinosaur media.

While the BOTM campaign is closed (finishing with enough money to greatly expand the original set of raptors), Saurian still has a few weeks. They've passed the "Post-impact Survival Mode" stretch goal, and it's certainly conceivable that they'll hit more of them. Head over to check out the pledge levels if you haven't already. I'm really excited about their field guide book, which is employing many paleoartists to illustrate the world of Saurian.

Meanwhile, on the research side of things, there have been a nice batch of recently funded paleo projects at Experiment. One that needs support now is Dean Lomax's effort to track down errant British ichthyosaurs in American museums. As Dean says, "This project will enable me to complete my ongoing study revising the genus, something that has been required for a very long time. Some specimens have been examined by a colleague but in order to critically evaluate them we must examine and assess eachothers findings together – like good scientists should!"

The deadline is June 19, so hop to!

Paleoart Pick

Pawpawsaurus gets the nod here, and not just because the generic name reminds me of a certain smelly native tree 'round my parts. I just love Julio Lacerda's reconstruction, head down in mid-sniff on a rainy evening - perhaps getting a nice whiff of Actinomycetes.

Pawpawsaurus by Julio Lacerda, used here with the artist's permission.

Oils of Heaven Cacay Oil - The New Facial Oil

*Post originally written by Olivia J on The Unknown Beauty Blog. If you see this post elsewhere, it has been stolen.*
*PR Sample*

There are many oils out there now not just for cooking but for skin care.  All of them do aid in the benefit of moisturizing the skin.  But all aren't created as wearable and comfortable as Oils of Heaven Cacay Oil.

I beg you, click to read more »

Vintage Dinosaur Art: Predatory Dinosaurs of the World - Part 1

It is widely documented - not least by this blog - that a very few popular dinosaur books published over the last century stand out as real 'landmarks'. Books that are incalculably influential, for good or ill (and often a bit of both), giving rise to countless copycats and wannabes and spreading peculiar styles and memes far and wide in the world of palaeoart. Greg Paul's infamous Predatory Dinosaurs of the World is undoubtedly one such book, arguably doing more to spread the Paulian style than any other of his works. It's so well known that, for a long time, it seemed like a bit of a waste of time covering it; surely it's already been done to protofeathered death? I'm glad I changed my mind.

In recent years, artists have been keen to move on from Paul's style, which has come to be seen as just as dated, in its own way, as the Zallingerian behemoths were in the 1970s and 80s. This still seems a little incredible to me. PDW was published in 1988, when I was less than a year old. To me, growing up with often rather Sibbickian depictions of dinosaurs, Paul's reconstructions still look like The Future. It helps, of course, that Paul was one of the first palaeoartists to be truly anatomically rigorous, making his dinosaurs immensely more convincing than almost everything else around at the time. When I was a kid, they looked like they'd descended from another planet. A particularly awesome planet. Like Bakker before him, Paul's work is often filled with a dynamism and energy that few others had dared to explore up to that point.

Take this scene, for example. Here, a group of T. rex have managed to corner a Triceratops. One of the predators sinks its teeth into the animal's thigh - a potentially crippling blow. Both animals are illustrated with remarkable fidelity, with everything from the Triceratops' frill and epocippitals to the tyrannosaurs' horny bosses and birdlike stance brought to life with the utmost precision. For 1988, they're really not that shrinkwrapped, either - both Rexy and his quarry look beefy and muscular. Other than the tyrannosaur that appears to be (properly) running on the right of the scene (and where it's obviously dated, e.g. the arms), this remains very convincing.

Running tyrannosaurs were a Bakker favourite, and in PDW Paul reckons on Rexy being at least as fast as a racehorse, but the consensus today is that this is very unlikely, given the animals' sheer size. Still, they were definitely, as Paul says, much better equipped for speed than animals of similar size today...not to mention their potential prey.

PDW is notable for Paul's illustrations of theropods engaging in all sorts of interesting behaviours, including lounging around as large predators are wont to do. In the above scene, two Daspletosaurus tussle in a mating bout, "kicking at each other like overgrown ostriches". Paul employs skilful use of perspective here, particularly around the animals' heads; although his art is often criticised as having a 'flat' look, Paul's attention to detail means that animals do not take on unsightly, undignified appearances when swivelled out of lateral view.

Now, it's at this point that I am obliged to mention Paul's ever-controversial taxonomic rejiggles, for the caption to the above piece includes the eyebrow-raising 'Tyrannosaurus torosus'. Some of Paul's lumps and splits, usually published in popular works, have been backed up later by other authors in the technical literature; Giraffatitan comes to mind. Unfortunately, given the nature of books like PDW, Paul seldom goes into a great amount of detail as to why he decides that animals should be shuffled in or out of certain genera. Early in PDW, Paul bemoans the state of dinosaur taxonomy, and therefore makes it clear that he is going to offer "a new reorganisation of predatory dinosaur taxonomy and systematics, even though the phylogenetic conclusions it is based on are not yet firm". Hence 'Tyrannosaurus torosus', 'Ornithomimus bullatus', and...that other one I'll get to in a moment. All offered quite unapologetically. You can see why some scientists might tear their hair out.

Unfortunately, this unusual taxonomy has often threatened to obscure just how much this book was ahead of its time. Not all of Paul's revisions in terms of nomenclature might have stood the test of time (and the man himself has abandoned many of them), but many of his ideas about theropod physiology and life appearance certainly have. The above Coelophysis rhodesiensis (another lump that's since gained acceptance - this is the beastie formerly known as 'Syntarsus') sports a crazy hairdo that's undoubtedly modelled on Bakker's version, but check out the other nice touches too. There are those neck wattles (which appear on a number of Paul's theropods), and even a slightly silly looking ruff around the base of the neck. It's probably unduly lean, but you've got to admire the willingness to treat theropods in this way. Why can't some of them have looked a bit ridiculous?

Paul even illustrates a melanistic theropod, inspired directly by black panthers, in a twist that is ironically reminiscent of the work artists have been producing in the light of All Yesterdays. Sinking its sickle claws into an alarmed Tenontosaurus, this is, of course, Deinonychus...or should that be Velociraptor antirrhopus. People ascribe the steroidal Velociraptor in JP to Paul's reclassification of Deninonychus in PDW, while forgetting that Paul illustrated the animal - along with all other dromaeosaurs - with a covering of feathers. Too conservative by modern standards, but strikingly progressive for the time. If only Stan Winston Studios had been allowed to model the JP raptors more closely on Paul's, we might not still be seeing godawful scaly monstrosities all over the place.

Actual Velociraptor also puts in an appearance, of course, here depicted confronting Saurornithoides (lumped by Paul into Troodon). Note the feathery coats. Paul expends many words on the close link between dromaeosaurs, troodonts and modern birds, the evidence for which is now so overwhelming that to deny it, you'd have to keep sticking your fingers in your ears and singing merry songs about collagen fibres and rauisuchids proving something or other.

Saurornithoides is also the subject of a rather scary, open-mouthed, front-on mugshot. Dromaeosaur and troodont heads do show up Paul's more shrinkwrappy tendencies. In PDW, these animals are depicted with tiny, blunt hornlets projecting out in front of their eyes. These 'hornlets' persisted in palaeoart throughout the '90s, often (ironically) reinforcing the reptilian character of other people's more scaly reconstructions. However, they likely supported a soft tissue 'ridge' adjoining the back of the orbit, as also seen in modern birds. Still, this is a very cool drawing - I can't wonder if inspired John Conway's Huaxiagnathus painting, consciously or otherwise.

Oviraptor also gets a headshot, and this one remains stunning and remarkably up-to-date, mostly thanks to those beautiful fluffy filaments. The patterning on the crest is gorgeous, and inspired countless imitators. Hard to believe that this was drawn in 1987.

And finally (for now)...Greg Paul does Cenozoic theropods! In this case, Phorusrhacos. Unfortunately, these really do look rather amusingly shrink-wrapped and under-feathered, like they were illustrated with the explicit purpose of undermining the Paulian approach to reconstruction. Still, a wonderful curio and a fitting addition to a book entitled Predatory Dinosaurs of the World, as Paul himself acknowledges.

Next time - more of this sort of thing! But first, T. rex Succeeding competition entrants! (Don't forget, you still have until Monday...)