LIVE BLOGGING: Post #4: Shunosaurus and rocks

Posted by Nima On Monday, October 19, 2009 7 comments


Here's the next installment in our live sauropod blog of the Dashanpu quarry fauna scene.

I drew more Shunosaurus on the right (it's starting to get a bit crowded there, don't ya think?) and also some unusual large rocks and a tree fern behind them. That whole background region is going to be covered in conifers and ferns with a warm misty glow radiating through it - at least that's the effect I'm going for.

I like it so far but it's nowhere near done so I will continue blogging tomorrow and possibly the rest of the week. This is a miniature, so I am confident that it will be done or close to done in less than a week. Keep checking in for more progress pics.


Rachael said...

Beautifully drawn as awlays Nima. I'm very interested to see how your build your compositions. You focus in on detail of a specific area rather than scribbling in an entire page and having to rub it all out again as I do. I'm going to try your way next time I do pencil work and see if I'm any more successful. Your lines are very fine. Confident yet delicatley done. Looking forward to seeing the next phases.

davidmaas said...

the thin-ness really appeals to me. In reaction to texts I've read, I'd made my diplodocus legs/neck thinner than most illustrations I'd seen. I imagine them as big brew pots with thin appendages.
I like yours alot... thin thin. Look forward to the reared specimen!

Marica said...

Had to check out your blog again and see whether any new drawings were up :)

I think this one's going to look awesome when it's finished.

You said it's a miniature. How small is it?



Michael O. Erickson said...

It's looking VERY awesome as usual Nima!

Of course, I think the legs are way too skinny, and Greg Paul shows them like that too... But to me, the fat pillars Bob Bakker draws are MUCH more realistic than Greg Paul's skinny stick legs. And there are PLENTY of solid anatomical reasons to think that Bakker's thickly muscled legs are closer to the truth. But I degress...

Can't wait to see it finished!

Steveoc said...

Hi all,

Just stopping by, the image is looking promising.

Regarding the legs, the reason for thin legs is because they have straight, weight baring legs like elephants. Look at photos and vids of elephants they have very lightly muscled legs. It’s because the muscles only need to powerful enough to move the legs rather than also supporting the animals mass, which is done by the bones.

Personally I would go for ever so ‘‘slightly’’ thicker legs, especially the back legs, sauropods center of mass is closer, more often than not, to the hip and back legs as opposed to the front legs.

I would personally smooth out the cervical - dorsal transition a bit. They look like they have a Camarasaurus like upturn/kink at the base of the neck. Does Omeisaurus show evidence of an upturn?


Nima said...

Thanks for the comments everyone!

Steve, I'm rethinking the hindlimbs too... i think I may have shifted the Ilium too far back and made it too short... correcting this would make the leg thicker. I have an original copy of Greg Paul's very fine skeletal of Omeisaurus, and I need to look at it again... but overall my drawing looks like an Omeisaurus to me...

As for the "kink" - there MAY be evidence that Omeisaurus was found with a 'kink' position in the neck base like Camarasaurus when it was dug up, but either way it makes little difference because that's just the death pose of the famous juvenile Camarasaurus (though the life pose was not that different, contrary to Stevens and Parrish).

The pose I put the neck in is definitely within the feasible realm of dorsiflexion for Omeisaurus as well as Mamenchisaurus. I've taken a good look at the published material and photos of the skeleton, and also Greg Paul's skeletal has the neck in precisely such a "kinked" position as the habitual posture. Of course as in Camarasaurus this is not a fixed posture, but judging by the structure of the neck verts, it's the most favorable pose for "euhelopodids".

In case anyone's wondering, I'm not at all convinced that ONP or straight-edge stiff horizontal necks were even plausible as a natural pose for sauropods, especially non-diplodocoids. Even diplodocoids likely had a 10-15% upward curve in their necks.

I should really scan Greg Paul's skeletal of this guy and post it here for reference. But it's HUGE, so I have to use my university's scanner... after Wednesday my schedule will permit me to do it.

Michael O. Erickson said...

"Regarding the legs, the reason for thin legs is because they have straight, weight baring legs like elephants. Look at photos and vids of elephants they have very lightly muscled legs."

Yes, but that simply doesn't work because sauropods have cnemial crests FAR more substantially developed than those of elephants. For those not "in the know", the cnemial crest is the ridge of bone that juts out from the front of the shin - the calf muscles attach directly to it. You won't feel much of one on your own leg, actually, because humans are like elephants and turtles in having PITIFULLY small cnemial crests. But the bigger the cnemial crest, the bigger the relative size of the lower limb (calf) muscles. To put it into perspective, Giraffatitan has a cnemial crest exactly TWICE the size of the crest of a bull African Elephant scaled up to the same shin length. (Ditto for Omeisaurus.) Opisthocoelocaudia has a cnemial crest exactly THREE TIMES the size of the crest of an elephant scaled to the same shin length. So we are forced to conclude that sauropod legs were startlingly heavily muscled compared to elephants.

Oh, and Nima, I agree with you 100% on sauropod necks - down with horizontal, UP WITH UP! :)

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