A hungry dinosaur crashes a barbecue.
Curious flyers dive after a sandwich.
A giant swimmer rams into the boat.
A pet dinosaur is not like your average dog. When your dog needs some exercise, then you can just take him out on a walk. But what do you do when your pet is a giant, sharp-toothed meat-eater three times the size of the biggest tiger at the zoo?
In today’s audio chat I am joined by my delightful little helpers, Mariel, Samuel, and Peter, and later on Tabitha and Joey join in on the fun.
I am super excited to announce the official release of my first book, Dinosaurs Don’t Play Fetch! It’s already available on Amazon in print and as an eBook, and you’ll find the link for the free companion PDF inside the eBook.
The book is a collection of 14 short stories I’ve posted here on the blog over the years (all cleaned up and made their best), detailed illustrations of each featured creature, and many more drawings I’ve never posted before here on the website. Each featured critter has a short story and a quick fun fact section, including where and when you can find “wild” species of that critter, and a few tips on the care and handling of a pet prehistoric critter.
The art collection is made to accompany the eBook and is available for free for anyone who buys the eBook. Just follow the links underneath the first few illustrations to find your free copy.
Prefer your books in print, or just not interested in the book, but want the art? The Dinosaurs Don’t Play Fetch Art Collection features lots of illustrations I have never posted on the website, along with a few fun facts, some sneak peeks on the process of drawing prehistoric critters, and even a few corrections on mistakes I made in a few of the stories.
If you are interested in a copy and decide to buy one, then I would be absolutely delighted if you would leave a review on Amazon. In fact, let me know that you reviewed it and you can suggest a critter to feature for Fossil Friday! 🙂 A book that has at least one or two reviews from people who enjoy it can make all the difference for people who are curious but not sure if it’s something for them. I only want someone to buy it if they will enjoy it. If it’s not their cup of tea, then I would rather they spend their hard-earned money somewhere else.
It’s been quite the adventure creating this “practice” book, and it’s been an awesome learning experience! Now I have it finished and on my shelf, and it’s a beautiful thing to have something I can look at and know that it’s mine. Not as a matter of boasting, but as a way to acknowledge that yes, I can do this. I can create something wonderful that brings joy to others, something that gives me joy and energy that I can then give my family. Because as much as I love being a mom, it’s not my only identity, and I’ve always had a very deep desire to create something and share that with others simply because it gives me joy.
Don’t we all need something like this for our goals? Some way of defining success in a way that’s concrete and real, instead of something that’s more abstract and stuck in our heads? The internet and computers are great, and there are so many things we could never do without them (like this blog), but there’s something special about having something you can touch.
Sometimes we need to get a little creative about goals. It’s not very practical to earn money in cash after all, so if a goal is a financial one, perhaps it could be made more tangible by making it a goal to pay certain bills with the money earned. If it’s a health goal, then perhaps imagine the sort of things you would be able to do, or how you would feel once you reached that goal.
Now that the book is done, I can focus on drawing little Chia, and then set up my newsletter.
And the Critter of the Month is…
Imagine swimming through the shallow seas of Late Jurassic Europe. The cold currents of the north may have brushed the shores of the island chains, but for the most part the seas enjoy warm currents from the Tethys sea far to the south.
The reefs are full of fish of all sizes, turtles, jellyfish, coiled ammonites, and larger creatures like marine crocodiles, dolphin-like Ichthyosaurs, long-necked Plesiosaurs, and the apex predator of these waters, Pliosaurus.
Pliosaurus was discovered and named very early in the days of paleontology. Sir Richard Owen, famous for coining the name Dinosaur, was studying what were thought to be Plesiosaur bones. They were quite different from most Plesiosaur bones, and he thought this new creature was more closely related to dinosaurs (and crocodilians) than Plesiosaurs were. So he named the new creature Pliosaurus, or “more lizard”.
Pliosaurus was one of the biggest animals that cruised the oceans of its time, and some species could grow 10-12 meters (33-39 feet) long. Such a large size makes them very much like large sharks today, hungry for anything that swims, but better at attacking larger animals than darting after small fish. They may have been very similar to modern great white sharks or tiger sharks in their role as apex predators.
Like most marine animals, it had a roughly torpedo-shaped body. It is similar to its cousin the Plesiosaur in that it has four strong flippers for swimming, but very different because of its short neck and usually very large head. Recent discoveries suggest a small fluke on its tail, which is like the triangular fin on shark’s tails, but the exact shape of it is a mystery.
There are several known species of Pliosaurus. Since it was named so long ago, it used to be a wastebasket taxon and everything that looked like a Pliosaur was called Pliosaurus for a while. It’s a bit like finding the pieces to puzzles under the couch and making a complete puzzle from that. At first you have no choice but to put all the blue pieces together, but then you may find enough blue pieces to see that some are from the sky and others are water, and some blue pieces are from a completely different puzzle.
It works very much the same with fossils, and the proposed species are…
Pliosaurus brachydeirus is the type species, Pliosaurus kevani , Pliosaurus westburyensis, and Pliosaurus carpenteri are from England, Pliosaurus rossicus is from Russia, and Pliosaurus funkei is from Norway.
Most fossils for Pliosaurus are fragmentary, and most of those pieces are of the head, flippers, and vertebrae. P. kevani is only known from its head, which is a particularly nice one and mostly complete. Others are known only from vertebrae. Paleontologists do have some ideas on how it moved and would have looked in life. And that research gives artists clues on how to reconstruct them.
I’ve really wanted a new journal with Tigger on it, so I put it up on Redbubble and bought one! You can click on the picture for a copy of your own if you like. 🙂
See you April 1st for the next Critter of the Month!
After much anticipation, we finally get to meet the newest critter in the shop!