Sunday, January 17, 2010

Tetrapodomorph Evolution series (update #1)

I've decided to focus my work by creating series or collections of plushies based on various themes. If you go to my shop, in the sections you'll see some of the ones I've been brainstorming (partly based on what I've already made).

One of them, Tetrapodomorph Evolution, was inspired by a term paper I wrote for my herpetology class last semester. My topic was on the evolutionary transition of fins to limbs, from sarcopterygian (lobe finned) fish to amphibians. I wrote about the skeletal changes that took place based on the fossil record, and the ecological pressures the creatures may have experienced to encourage them to leave the water. "Tetrapodomorph" is the catch-all name for these organisms that were on the way to becoming tetrapods (tetrapods being organisms walking on four legs).

Of course, a few weeks after I complete my paper, this paper comes out in Nature, mixing up the whole thing.

But regardless, I'm making a series of plushies based on some of the major fossil tetrapodomorphs central to our understanding of this transition.
Cladogram showing relationships of tetrapodomorphs according to a current consensus (Clack 2009)

I started with a devonian lungfish, Dipterus. Lungfish are the sister group to tetrapods, and part of the sarcopterygian clade, not shown in the diagram above.
It's about 17" long, a cute little thing. All the scales were hand sewn.

Next I made Eusthenopteron, still very fish-like but with more complicated skeletal structure in the fins/lobes. This plush is considerably larger, 25" long.
I have it hanging by a thread, here, to show off the fins nicely.

I'm currently working on Panderichthys, which has a considerably flatter head and different body shape, looking less fish like. It's going to be quite large and quite fat, and I've run out of stuffing, so when that appears will depend on when I can go shopping. Here is a preview, though.
A word of warning to those who may be interested in buying these plushies - they will NOT BE FOR SALE UNTIL THEY ARE ALL COMPLETED. I'm not sure just how may I will make, but when I'm satisfied, I will be looking for galleries (or perhaps even museums) that might be willing to display them. If not, or at the end of their display, they will then be available in my shop.

If you wish to have a version of your very own right away, please contact me!

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Clack, J. 2009. The Fish-Tetrapod Transition: New Fossils and Interpretations. Evolution: Education and Outreach 2(2): 213-223.

3 comments:

MAB Jewelry said...

You are such a fascinating person. What a wonderful explanation of your creative process, from the spark to the completed piece of art. Fantastic.

I Purr-Furr to Craft said...

Love it!
All the best with this next step, I will be fascinated to see them when they are finished.

prashant said...

You found some beautiful creatures. Nice photos.

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