Critter of the Week: Juramaia

Meet Maya.  She’s a sweet little fuzzball who loves nothing more than to curl up in your pocket.  At least during the day.  When the sun goes down, that’s when the party starts!

Maya update2.jpg

Wait a second…what’s a squirrel doing in a dinosaur book?  Well I’m glad you asked.  So far, her kind is the first mammal discovered that nourishes her babies in utero with a placenta.  A placental mammal.  (humans, dogs, and elephants are also placental mammals)  This is unique from marsupials like kangaroos, or egg laying monotremes like platypus.  🙂

My little girl keeps calling Maya a squirrel (she’s 3 🙂 ), but she’s a bit more like a tree shrew.  Little Maya has sharp little teeth that are great for just about anything she can get her paws on, but bugs are her favorite.  That slender nose helps her sniff them out in the dark.  She has long arms and sharp claws that make her completely at home in the tree tops.

When you’re the size of a squirrel it’s good to be out of reach of giant dinosaurs!

If you want to learn more, here’s a great news article with a picture of the beautiful fossil. It even has fur!


Making progress…

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Only four more color sketches to go!  Though at some point I need to figure out what I’m going to do with the end pages and the back cover…

What are end pages?  On a paperback book, you don’t usually get fancy end pages, but only have the white just inside the cover.

I must say this book is absolutely gorgeous!  Such a shame it’s not available as a hardback, because it would be nice to be able to lay it flat.  Mark Witton is a highly knowledgeable paleontologist and a skilled artist.  I love and highly admire his work. 🙂
Here’s the plain blank inside to the cover.


In a hardback book, the end pages are the first and last pages of the whole book, and one side is glued down to the hard cover.  Many end pages are one solid color, or a basic patterned paper.  White is most common with hardback novels or textbooks.  But picture books will sometimes have illustrations on the end pages, which can be a part of the story itself.

Sorry for the glare.  It turns out that most of the critters in my book are from the Morrison Formation, so I’ve been using this book, “Jurassic West”, for a lot of my research.
The end pages are the first thing you see when you open the cover.  Most hardbacks will be white like this, or a solid color.  A few have patterned paper.
This book has been a great help for the long-necked critters featured in Pete’s Paleo Petshop.  It would be nice if there was a little less shrink-wrapping, but all in all it’s a great book. 🙂  Also, can you spot the meme here? 😀
It also gives a lovely example of some fancier end pages.  Some picture books will do more than this, and will have full color illustrations to start the story the second you open the book.


In other, less interesting news…I’ve decided to take down the picture I was putting up between the COW and Picturebook Progress.  I need to get this email thing figured out once and for all before I start posting up stuff like that all over the site.

Anybody happen to have any clue how to do the email newsletter on Mailchimp thing?  Everybody says you need a list, that is, lovely readers like you who might want to see cute prehistoric critters right in your inbox.  Convenient y’know…but maybe you don’t!  Who am I to say? 🙂

In any case, it makes no sense to have a sign up page for something I still don’t know how to do…so I’m not posting that picture anymore for a while.

One step at a time.

At least Instagram is working. 😀  I see a lot of you lovely folks around here.  Thank you for stopping by!


Coming Next Week…

This little critter may have a rough, pebbly outside, but she’s all soft gooey lovins on the inside. 🙂

13 thoughts on “Critter of the Week: Juramaia

  1. Don’t forget the sun behind the sauropods! Wait,Maya is actually watercolored? I never noticed it! And pretty sure Skittles is the next critter of the week. 🙂 If you like Charles R. Knight (Who will not like his work!?) Here’s one of his books full of his artwork,well at least i think it is.It’s Charles R. Knight: The Artist Who Saw Through Time.


    1. Yup, Skittles is right! 🙂

      And yeah, seriously, who doesn’t like Knight’s work? I have that book on my wishlist. Haha, and who can forget the little pterosaur to show how huge the sauropods are?


    2. This is Kaprosaurus,please pardon my mistakes,this is suppose to be a reply to my previous comment.Why does this always happen to me?


  2. The more i look at her,the more i like Maya’s design.I did that thing with Mailchimp,it was pretty easy,although mind-boggling when it’s your first time.Have you tried looking at the book Dinosaur Art:The World’s Greatest Paleoart? I don’t know if it’s a good source of information.Also,what meme are you talking about? Glad the book is slowly filling out nicely! Keep up the good work! -Kaprosaurus


    1. Hi Kaprosaurus, thank you for stopping by! I’m glad you like little Maya. Since she’s my only true watercolor critter (vs. digital watercolor) I have a certain fondness for her also. 🙂

      I’ve had my eye on that book for a while now, but haven’t taken the plunge to buy it yet. All the books I have were gifts from very understanding (and in some ways indulging) family who were willing to take requests. 😀 From what I hear, the book is gorgeous, but has a mix of different artists. This can be a good thing, to discover new artists, but in reviews there were some whose style I really don’t care for. I’d rather buy a book with art from one particular artist, like Charles R. Knight’s master work. 🙂 They may be outdated, but they are masterpieces all the same.

      The meme is the “herd of sauropods ambling through a flat plain with forest and mountains behind them”. It seems that sauropods are often depicted this way. Especially the conveniently flat ground, with all the difficult terrain and obstacles behind them in the distance. Of course, there are real places like this…but it seems like sauropods never walk on ground that isn’t perfectly flat. 😀 Actually, come to think of it, most large dinosaurs seem to avoid obstacles, uneven terrain, and vegetation at all cost.

      I am guilty of this too of course. 😀 And I can’t fully take credit for noticing this meme either. Mark Witton mentioned it in a blog post on his site. 🙂


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