Critter of the Month: Yi Qi

The dragon of the Jurassic! A mysterious creature that many portray as a monstrous frankenstein of bat and bird features…may actually not look so strange afterall.

This handsome little fellow was only about the size of a pigeon or perhaps a crow. The one and only fossil preserves beautiful details about its feathers, the skin membrane between a few fingers, and even the structures that hint at color. But fossils like these can often lead to even more questions than one started with! Let’s take a moment to unpack what I mean…

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Sketchbook Sneak Peak

It’s Dinovember, and I thought I’d have a little fun with one of those lists of dinosaurs floating around Instagram. Just a few critters, to shake things up a bit with a slightly different style and fun fact bits. The list I borrowed off of Instagram had mostly Cretaceous critters in it, but I decided I’d post a few here anyway. Enjoy!

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Critter of the Month: Archaeopteryx

Meet Tango. This bird likes to party, and loves being the center of attention even more!

Last year I wrote a little story about Tango and Twig, but it was posted in two halves. Tango and Twig would be much happier if I posted the whole story in one place, so enjoy this silly little tale about Tango the Archaeopteryx and Twig the Compsognathus.

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Sketchbook Sneak Peak

The seasons are changing here in the Texas hill country.

The nights are cooler, the leaves on the pecans and sycamores are falling, yellow wildflowers like broomweed and ragweed are abuzz with busy bees and huge monarch butterflies, and everywhere you go the world is aglow with the golden hue sunlight seems to get at this time of year.

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Critter of the Month: Stegosaurus

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.

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Critter of the Month: Brachiosaurus

Meet Elmer. He’s a little shy, and likes staying in his comfort zone, but he’ll be your best giant friend if you give him some greens and a big hug.

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I was wondering…What do giant sauropods do when it rains? So I started a quick little comic about Elmer this month. I say started, because I only got halfway through. But we’ll see what happens to Elmer as we go through August. Enjoy!

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Sketchbook Sneak Peak

What do you like to do over the weekend?

Pete enjoys leisurely walks with the critters at the shop. Today he’s taking Opie the Ornitholestes and Nina the Nanosaurus.

Wait a second, don’t they have a rather antagonistic relationship? Well, yes, you’d be correct if we were talking about wild Ornitholestes and Nanosaurus, but domestic ones can learn to get along with the proper training. A well fed and regularly exercised Ornitholestes soon learns to ignore a Nanosaurus, especially one that is fully grown. Nina here will be just a little bigger than Opie once she reaches her full size, but that’ll be a while yet since she’s already mature and now in slow-growth mode.

Many dinosaurs grow very quickly in size when they’re young, like us. Once mature, we don’t grow any taller, but many dinosaurs will continue growing (at a much slower pace) for as long as they live.

Pete usually has a harness for Nina, but he doesn’t need one for Opie. Opie saw Pete for the first time when he hatched out of the egg, and he followed Pete around like a duckling follows its mother. He’s all grown up now, so he usually spends time out in his paddock, but he’ll still follow Pete around when he comes by. All the Ornitholestes that did not see Pete as a hatchling don’t do this, so he uses a harness anytime he needs to take them somewhere.

Frenemies? Pete takes Nina the Nanosaurus and Opie the Ornitholestes for a walk.
Time for a walk! They don’t really need walks at the shop, but Pete likes to spend a little time with the different animals.

Out in the wild, a fully grown adult Nanosaurus wouldn’t have too much to worry about from an Ornitholestes, especially as a flock. Young chicks would definitely have to watch out though, like these hiding in the cycad fronds. Luckily for them, this Ornitholestes is only curious about the rustling in the foliage, and not particularly hungry. A hunting Ornitholestes would keep its head low, and move slowly and quietly. Then the young Nanosaurus would crouch low to the ground and sit absolutely still, ready to dart out of the stiff cycad leaves if they are found.

Nanosaurus chicks spy on a curious Ornitholestes from behind some plants. He'll never notice...
Maybe he won’t notice us?

Thank you so much for stopping by! See you on August 1st for Critter of the Month! 😀