Meet Maya. She’s a sweet little fuzzball who loves nothing more than to curl up in your lap. At least during the day. When the sun goes down, that’s when the party starts!
I have a confession to make. I always assumed that Juramaia was tiny. The reconstructions make it look a bit like a rat, and the modern-day comparisons are always to shrews. So she’s basically a prehistoric squirrel-rat-thing right?
I was wrong!
It all started when I wanted to update Maya’s picture. I was looking for the original file so I could at least put Maya on the rectangular backgrounds I’ve been doing, because I still quite like the watercolor…but I couldn’t find it anywhere, and the original watercolor had some additions made courtesy of my toddler. 😦
No biggie, I thought, I’ll just start working on a brand new one for the next time Maya gets her turn again. I was planning on sharing a bunch of cute sketches of sleeping and midnight-party Maya anyway, and I figured I could fix up one of them into an updated profile at some point.
So I found some pictures of sugar gliders and a few tree shrews…
(I don’t own any of the pictures, just found them on a search, so if you know who to credit it would be great if you’d let me know please!)
Adorable aren’t they? That last picture is a tree shrew by the way, and probably pretty close to what Juramaia might’ve looked like.
I really liked the idea of having a few sketches of Maya being held by someone, for size reference, and before I started drawing I figured I’d better look up exactly how big she is…
And that’s when I discovered she’s much closer in size to a large cat or raccoon than a squirrel.
Just her head is 22cm long, or 8 1/2 inches…the width of a standard sheet of paper. Her entire body, from the tip of her snout to the base of her tail, is roughly 80-100cm long. We’ll guesstimate 80cm since Maya is a little female, which is 31 1/2 inches. Go take a look at your front door and how wide it is, there are non-standard door sizes of course (and I can only speak for American standard lol ), but my front door is 35 inches wide. Which really gave me a little perspective on how big Maya really is. The fossil doesn’t preserve a tail, but it’s probably safe to bet it’s at least as long as the body is.
So, what I should be looking at are pictures of Coatimundis!
This adorable fuzzball…
Coatimundi are a nice reference because of the similar snout shape and size. They’re relatives of raccoons, and excellent climbers like little Maya, though Maya likes to stay up in the trees where it’s safer from large dinosaurs. 🙂
Speaking of Maya, here she is now!
It’s been a good month, and it’s good to see you here, thank you for dropping by!
Over the months I’ve been posting a short story to accompany our Critter of the Month, I’ve collected 14 short stories. The earlier ones are getting a nice face lift where required, so depending on how happy I am with them once they get their final edits I may include all of them or pick out 12 of the best ones. I haven’t decided yet.
The collection will include a full color portrait of the featured character and a few “ink” illustrations scattered throughout. So the plan is to be done and ready to publish before the Christmas chaos sets in!
As I get closer to finishing I’ll start sharing little sneak peaks here. 🙂
Coming Oct. 1st…
This critter loves to cuddle. Unfortunately it feels a bit like hugging a spiky boulder. 🙂