Common Raven a few steps forward. Going to bed now. More tomorrow.
Yet another Pterosaur… my apologies. It must have something to do with my father’s death. I feel an intense need to recapture the past… Anyway, this is Tupandactylus imperitor, and it is now complete, except for color. I think we can imagine some vibrant colors on this coastal species. Did it consume fish, or fruit? Experts disagree. The great crest, made of fine soft tissue between boney supports must have been used during courtship displays… I imagine something like the bright blue of Brant’s Cormorants, or perhaps something like one of our Puffins, or Auklets. Perhaps even a Gannet. What kinds of colors do you imagine on this fashion-forward Pterosaur?
Tupandactylus imperator. Standing about the 5 feet tall (crest included) it possessed the largest headrest of any Pterosaur. Fossils indicate that soft tissue did in fact creat a large web between the upper and lower supports of the crest. It was discovered in Brazil in the Cretaceous deposits, making it one of the mid-to-late Pterosaurs. Estimates of its diet range from fish to fruit…
Nyctosaurus portrait in pencil. This magnificent animal lived during the late Cretaceous era, some 85 million years ago, near the American seashores. It belongs to the highly successful group of “modern Pterosaurs” with short tails and very long, untoothed beaks. It had a 2 meter wingspan and is considered to have been a soaring, gliding piscavore. I imagined it as having strong countershading much like a Sooty Tern. It is shown here preening.
Here’s another preliminary sketch in my paleo series. This rough study is of the astonishing Pterosaur genus Nyctosaurus. All members of this genus possessed long, antler-like crests. Despite the crest’s size, they were quite light, and it is currently not believed to have had any soft tissue connecting the two branches. It lived by the sea and is believed to have been quite a glider, perhaps capturing fish from the surface of the water much like a Skimmer or large Tern. I took some liberties with the composition, deciding that it would be fun to imagine how it attended to grooming. I’ve never seen a representation of this animal reaching back on its body or even sitting on its haunches like this, but that’s a part of paleoart—imagining what might have been. And by the looks of the skeleton, it seems quite possible it might have adopted this posture.