Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Heyuannia huangi

Copyright A V S Turner 2015

Finally, my family of Heyuannia huangi are ready to make their public appearance, just in time for 2016! Owing to a heavy workload over the past year I have had to spread work on this image over several months, so sadly, the news story that inspired this restoration has since gone a little cold. Still, I am none the less glad to have been able to spend a little more time on this piece than I normally would.
These oviraptosaurids have been modelled on the modern Cassowary, owing to the revelation that these animals laid similar blue/green eggs. Also, except for a broad discrepancy in size, the morphology of the two species are reasonably similar.
I was unable to source any detailed information on the climate of Cretaceous Southern China (which was home to this particular species), but the initial hypothesis  regarding the colouration of the eggs seems to be that this is a form of camouflage, so a green, forested environment seemed appropriate. The Tongaland and Karoo cycads were chosen to accompany the main subjects because these species both emerged within the Mesozoic era and could be found (as far as my research indicates) across Asia and parts of Africa.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Work in Progress (Heyuannia Huangi)

Copyright Alice Turner 2015
I've become aware that it is indeed some months since my last blog post, so just wanted to put up this work-in-progress to prove that I haven't been sitting on my laurels!

One of the biggest news stories in palaeontology this year was the announcement that scientists have been able to ascertain the colour of eggshells from at least the oviraptorosaurid family: the same green-blues seen in some of the most ancient of extant bird species today.
To illustrate this new revelation, I have been restoring these Heyuannia Heyuangi (the species used in the study) and their nest.

Work has been keeping me pretty busy for the past few months, but I am hoping to have this piece finished by the end of the year.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Jurassic Scene

Copyright A V S Turner 2015
My first completed restoration of 2015 shows a pelagic scene in European waters of the mid-late Jurassic period. Featuring from left (more or less!): Icthyosaurus, Hybodus, Thalassiodracon, Rhomaleosaurus, Dorygnathus and Eurrhinosaurus. It occurred to me some months ago that I hadn't tackled an underwater scene properly yet and, having recently taken up scuba diving, felt inspired to start researching some subjects. I wanted to show a feeding frenzy like those recorded in wildlife documentaries (normally my first port of call for injecting realism into a prehistoric scene), capturing the energy of the chase and the wide range of species such an event attracts. I also wanted to pay some homage to Mary Anning by depicting some of the species that she discovered. This gave me a starting point for nailing the period and geographical location to research (so often the most difficult part, with so much to choose from!). Once I had settled upon a reasonable selection of species to depict I then got on to the all-important scale guide. As you can see, I don't generally bother to spend too much time on intricate detail on these studies; I just use them to get a general idea of the scale of the species relative to one another:

What I find most exciting about this stage of development is the little surprises it can bring. I had always assumed that Pliosaurs generally reached much greater sizes than Icthyosaurs, so I was surprised when I first compared the size of Rhomaleosaurus to that of Eurrhinosaurus. What a Whopper!