Hi everybody. As many of you already know, I occasionally volunteer at the Garvies Point Museum in Nassau County, New York. One day, I decided to hash out some drawings of Late Triassic creatures when I had a few moments of spare time, and I stuck them on the wall over the bulletin board. Recently, I went back to the museum for their annual Native American Feast, and to tell you the truth, I had completely forgotten about these pictures. I decided to take some photos of them while I was there. I’m hoping that the museum staff uses them for coloring activities with the children that visit the museum every week.
Hi everybody. In time for the holidays, my publisher Pen & Sword Books is having a massive sale. My own book Four Days in September: The Battle of Teutoburg, 2nd edition, is on sale for 25% off. That’s a great deal. So if you’re interested in ancient history, Roman history, or military history, or if you know somebody who is, then get a copy of this book right now! This sale will not last, so get a copy at this reduced price while you can.
Click on the link below to access the book’s page:
Hello everybody. Even though my second history book The Great Illyrian Revolt has not been published yet (it’s scheduled to hit the shelves in either February or March 2019), Amazon is already taking pre-publication orders. I know for a fact that a couple of people that I personally know have already purchased it, and several professional academics have expressed their interest in this work. If ancient Roman history or military history is your thing, please go to Amazon and reserve a copy for yourself so that it will be shipped to you as soon as it is released!
A couple of people have asked me to see a preview of my upcoming history book The Great Illyrian Revolt, which will be released sometime next year in either February or March 2019. While I cannot show any text material yet because the editing process is still going on, I am able to show you the illustrations that I made for this book project. Time contraints prevented me from adding in more.
The first image that you see below is a geographic map of the various mountain ranges and rivers in southeastrn Europe
The next image is a map of southeastern Italy, in the region that is now called Apulia. However, during the BC centuries, this region was inhabited by three Illyrian tribes who were collectively referred to as the Iapygians. These tribes were the Daunians, the Peucetians, and the Messapians.
The third image is of “the Glasinac Warrior”. This was an Illyrian nobleman who lived during the 7th Century BC, and whose grave was discovered in Glasinac, Bosnia. In addition to the skeleton, the grave also contained jewelry, a bronze-handled sword, two spears, a pair of highly-decorated bronze greaves (armor for the lower leg), and what appears to be the remains of a shirt that was affixed with rows of metal studs as an early form of body armor. The material that made up the shirt rotted away, but it was probably leather of some thick fabric. Although a shield was not found in the grave, we know what shields from this time period looked like, so one was portrayed here.
The final image is a representation of an Illyrian noblewoman’s clothing and jewelry, dated somewhere from the 6th to 4th Centuries BC. The illustration is based upon graves and artifacts found at Donja Dolina, Ribić, Zaton, Gorica, Stična, and Opačići. Items include a veil with a decorated metal band, large hoop earrings, circular fibulae, a cloak, a long-sleeved dress with a pleated skirt, a triangle-shaped amber necklace, a wide belt decorated with metal studs, and bronze wrist bangles. Clothing styles are based upon illustrations found in ancient Greek art as well as descriptions of Illyrian clothing found in Greek and Roman literature. Collectively, this is likely what an Illyrian noblewoman of this time period would have dressed herself like. Since the emphasis for this illustration was on her clothing and jewelry, I chose to give the subject a blank mannequin-like face.
Back in June of this year, I posted a message saying that I had encountered several problems that needed to be addressed and required my full attention. Therefore, I was not able to do the writing and drawing that I enjoy, and which many of you enjoy also. I announced that I would be taking a break from this blog while I got all of these matters sorted out. Now I’m back.
While the various issues in my life situation are not completely taken care of yet, I’ve managed to get control of enough of them to allow me some breathing space. Perhaps now, I can once again turn my attention towards writing and drawing. Granted, I will not be able to crank out my work to the same speed and volume that I was previously able to do, but I will try to do what I can when I can. I am still fully aware that I have a “to-do list” of artwork and research articles that I promised to post here, and I will try to get to them as soon as I can, although I will likely not address them in the order that I had previously listed. Understandably, I will endeavor to knock out the easier projects first.
I look forward to getting back in the game again, and I also hope that you will appreciate the material that I will post here in the future. Keep your pencils sharp, everybody.
Hello everybody. A month ago, I posted that I would be keeping myself busy this summer by cranking out lots of artwork. When will I learn to NEVER make plans, because whenever I do, something always happens to ruin them, and sure enough, that’s happened once again. Life has a habit of getting in the way of my life. Several things have come up all at once that are altering my life situation, and they must be addressed right away. These will not be quick fixes, but will instead take months or even an entire year to address. As such, I will not have any time for art or writing articles on this website.
So, for the time being, it’s goodbye. I hope you understand.
Hi everyone. I know that the next artwork on my to-do schedule is an Allosaurus’ head, but it’s taking a while to collect the info on this, and I wanted to put something on here in the meantime. So, here’s a quick drawing that I made of a little-known Morrison Formation theropod named Coelurus. Note the unusually long metatarsal bones. This guy was likely a swift runner. I imagine him as a combination between a secretary bird, roadrunner, and cheetah.
There are two images here. The first is an uncolored pencil drawing, and the second is a colored drawing that I made using Prismacolor colored pencils. I don’t like coloring my drawings because it tends to wash out the detail. Black and white is more my “thing”.
Hi everybody. Here is my latest Hell Creek paleo-art. Say hello to Dakotaraptor steini, a large dromaeosaurid raptor that lived in South Dakota at the end of the Cretaceous Period. How large? We don’t have an exact measurement because this animal is known only from partial remains. However, enough was recovered to give a ballpark estimate that the creature measured somewhere around 15 to 20 feet long. Not as big as Utahraptor, but still pretty impressive.
This drawing was made with No. 2 pencil, Crayola and Prismacolor colored pencils, a black felt-tipped marker, and A LOT of touch up work on the computer in order to make the scanned image as bold and vivid as it is in real life.
During the 1940s, the front half of a fossilized skull was discovered in China. It was named and described as Lukousaurus yini in 1948. Lukousaurus lived during the early Jurassic Period, approximately 195 million years ago (MYA). Based upon the size of its remains, which consist only of the front half of its skull, it may have been six to eight feet long.
Some may cite Lukousaurus for it’s old age, but what grabbed my attention was when I read that the teeth had serrations only on the back edge. I have been told that this is a feature that is only found in the carnivorous dinosaurs commonly called “raptors”, more properly known as Deinonychosauria. This clade is divided into two families: Dromaeosauridae and Troodontidae. All dromaeosaurids have teeth which are serrated only along the posterior (back) edge, and some troodontids have this feature as well.
Although all raptor dinosaurs are found during the Cretaceous Period, paleontologists have hypothesized for years, based upon phylogenic analysis, that the ancestor of the raptors appeared millions of years earlier during the Jurassic Period. It may well be that Lukousaurus is that ancestor. Could it be that Lukousaurus is the oldest-known “raptor”?
Evidence to back up this claim is a bit thin. For starters, we’re not even sure if Lukousaurus was a dinosaur; it’s been proposed that it might, in fact, be a crocodilian. But let’s assume for the time being that it is a dinosaur. Is there any evidence which suggests that Lukousaurus might be a member of Deinonychosauria, or perhaps a close relative?
The first piece of evidence to support the hypothesis that Lukousaurus is a very primitive raptor is its age. Paleontologists have speculated that raptors appeared during the Jurassic Period, specifically either the early or middle Jurassic. The reason why is because birds are believed to have been descended from raptors, and the oldest-known birds come from the late Jurassic – therefore, raptors must have appeared a little earlier. Lukousaurus comes from the early Jurassic.
The second bit of evidence is geographic location. Raptors are believed to have originated in Asia and then spread elsewhere. Lukousaurus comes from China, specifically the Lower Lufeng Formation in Yunnan Province, China. It would have shared the landscape with the prosauropods Gyposaurus, Lufengosaurus, and Yunnanosaurus. it would have also lived alongside the early carnosaur Sinosaurus and the ornithischian Tatisaurus (we’re not sure if it was an ornithopod or an early thyreophoran; it might have looked similar to Scutellosaurus).
The third piece of evidence, which I have already mentioned before, is tooth structure. Lukousaurus’ teeth are very thin and blade-like, and are sharply recurved backwards. What is especially noteworthy is that the teeth have serrations only on the posterior edge – a feature found only in raptors.
This brings about the fourth piece of evidence, although this is subject to intense debate – taxonomy. It has been hypothesized that Lukousaurus was a coelurosaur, and the coelurosaurs were the ancestors of Maniraptora. This clade includes the ornithomimids, the therizinosaurs, the oviraptorosaurs, and the raptors. However, due to the incredibly fragmentary nature of Lukousaurus – it is, after all, known only from one fragmentary snout – its phylogenic position is uncertain. Yes, it has been classified as a coelurosaur, but it has also been classified as a ceratosaur, and even as a crocodilian. So, using taxonomy as evidence is incorrect; it’s more likely an opinion rather than evidence.
Lukousaurus might be an early raptor, but personally, I think it is an advanced coelurosaur which shows the beginning of raptor-like traits. This would make Lukousaurus a borderline coelurosaur-maniraptoran. Until more material from this particular species is uncovered, any assertions made as to which clade this creature belongs to will always be tinged with uncertainty.
Below is a drawing of the partial skull made by Tracy Ford.
- Lessem, Don; Glut, Donald F. The Dinosaur Society Dinosaur Encyclopedia. New York: Random House, Inc., 1993.
- Padian, Kevin, ed. The Beginning of the Age of Dinosaurs: Faunal Change Across the Triassic-Jurassic Boundary. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988.
- The Theropod Database. “Lukousaurus in Nesbitt’s matrix”, by Mickey Mortimer (May 7, 2011). http://theropoddatabase.blogspot.com/2011/05/lukousaurus-in-nesbitts-matrix.html. Accessed on December 24, 2013.
- Dinosaur Mailing List. “What is Lukousaurus?”, by Mickey Mortimer (September 4, 2000). http://dml.cmnh.org/2000Sep/msg00086.html. Accessed on December 24, 2013.
- The Bite Stuff. “Troodontid Teeth – WP#6”, by Jaime A. Headden (June 6, 2010). http://qilong.wordpress.com/2010/06/06/weekly-picture-6-troodontid-teeth/. Accessed on December 24, 2013.
Now that the manuscript for my history book on the ancient history of the Balkans is finished, I have some time to work on my art, which I have been neglecting for months. A while back, I wrote a post saying that I had a “to-do list” of various subjects that I wanted to address either in artwork or articles based upon items that have appeared in your searches of my website, but that was some time ago, and a lot has changed since then. Even so, I have kept this list in my mind, and I have been working on tackling the various items on it. Projects that I’ve completed so far are Alamosaurus, Ornithomimus, a Jurassic pliosaur, and – my latest post – Caenagnathus (which might be the same animal as Chirostenotes).
Now it’s time to move on to other things. A lot of you have been looking for stuff related to Dakotaraptor. Alright, that’s my next project, and I’ve already started work on it. Hopefully, it will be finished by the end of the month. It’s still very much in the pre-production research phase.
But what about what comes afterwards? Well, I’ve got several projects lined up. Here is a “top ten” schedule of what I’ll be doing, based upon what you have been looking for:
- Dakotaraptor (work has already begun on this).
- Allosaurus head (6 searches).
- Re-doing my full-body Allosaurus drawing, for the sixth time (a LOT of you have been looking for Allosaurus-related stuff on this website; 81 searches).
- Re-doing my Troodon drawing. The drawing that I posted to this website years ago is pathetically inaccurate, and needs to be re-done. (53 searches).
- Velociraptor (23 searches).
- Prehistoric sharks (10 searches).
- Prehistoric fish (7 searches).
- Carnotaurus. This guy’s one of my personal favorites, and I’m really looking forward to doing a full-body rendition of him (7 searches).
- Mosasaur (7 searches).
- Pterosaur (7 searches).