Meet Steggy. She might not have very much of a brain, but she makes up for that with the softness of her heart. There’s not a whole lot that’ll surprise her (thanks to Pete’s training), and she’ll let just about anybody clamber on her back. 🙂
I say “just about” anybody, because there was that one time some kids wanted her to be their fortress in a water balloon battle. That was a bit too much for Steggy. But that class of preschoolers who came to visit were adorable. Steggy just sat there and let them climb all over her (Pete stuck a few tennis balls on her spikes, so they wouldn’t be so sharp). The kids had a great time painting stars and hearts on her big plates.
Meet Cassie. All she wants in life is to get her feet wet, and perhaps a fish or two. Yes, she would really like fish. Do you have some?
Pretty please with cherries on top?
Can’t fool her, she knows I brought some of those little dried fishy treats. Look at that face, she might even snuggle for some.
But please don’t Cassie. Down girl. Thank you. I don’t really want to smell like river mud at the moment.
Have a treat!
I’m sure you must be wondering what she is…
She is a small mammal from the middle of the Jurassic China, just a bit smaller than a modern platypus. She has a lot in common with platypus, such as a love for water, strong digging paws, a thick fur pelt, and probably even laid eggs like a platypus (though there’s no way to know for sure).
But she’s not actually related to platypus, beavers, or any modern mammal. She is from an extinct group of mammals called docodonta.
So there’s a long and a short way to go about this. I do something really tedious and boring, and pull out the scientific papers, fossils, diagrams, anatomy jargon, and articles written by people much smarter and more knowledgeable than me in all things paleontology…
I can save you the big snore (because the technical stuff is tough to read, and I like this sort of thing!) and have an excuse to draw yet more cute critters, while sneaking in a few quick fossil facts in a bite-size post or convenient picture. 🙂
Why am I doing this?
The truth is that I got a little frustrated. All the dinosaur books for kids fall into one of two categories-
Super cute story and dinosaurs, but no science. For example, “Pteradactyls” lumped in with the dinosaurs, and dinos stuck with the appearance of rubber toys from the 80s.
“Educational”, but tough to read. Because after reading a list of names like Tyrannosaurus rex, Euplocephalosaurus, and Parasaurolophus 20 nights in a row, I know that book is going to put aside for “some other time”. Plus the computer graphics always look a bit unpleasant to me.
Pete’s Paleo Petshop is the best of both worlds. A cute story with illustrations based on the latest scientific research I can find. But I also want to make clear what part of the illustration is something we actually know as fact, or really just an educated guess. Speculation. A hypothesis. 🙂
So this is the start of a new series called The Art & Science of Pete’s Paleo Petshop. That’s super long though, so I’ll have to shorten it somehow. 🙂
For your convenience, I’ll keep a list of all posts in the series here on this page, and I’ll update the list with links as we go along. I’ll begin with the main cast, and we’ll see where we go from there. 🙂
Bonus Question: Any special requests? I’ll be going over these critters in no particular order, so if there’s one you really want to see first, let me know. First one to answer in the comments gets first pick! 🙂