Thursday, July 22, 2010
Amazing Jehol Art and Microraptor Tailfins
Just a quick note on something I stumbled upon while checking out the new google image search. These paintings by Zhang Zong Da (click here!) are seriously cool, some of the most effective art I've seen portraying the Jehol and Dauhugou biota. My favorite is the third image down depicting pollinating insects. Reminds me of Microcosmos or something, an aesthetic I've tried for with some of my own digipaintings but not nearly at the same level of skill or effectiveness.
One idea I particularly like (and wonder why I haven't seen more often) is the Microraptor with "tailfins" like a '57 Chevy. As we all know, microraptorians had long pennaceous feathers not only on the metatarsus but the tibia (and the thigh in some cases, known as "butt fans"). All gliding micro restorations I've seen have the tibiae fully extended, creating a wide gap between the sticky-out biplane feathers of the metatarsals and the front wings of the arms. The restoration above shows the legs in a 'kneeling' posture, so that the tibia feathers stick more or less straight up behind the front wings, presumably creating a stabilizing effect. I don't know how aerodynamically sound this configuration would be, but it sure is a cool idea!