Saturday, October 10, 2009

Mega Rodent, Part 1

Here’s a painting of the largest rodent known to science. It’s something like a cross between a guinea pig and a rhinoceros. It would have stood about four feet high at the shoulder, weighing about 2,000 pounds.

Known as Josephoartigasia, the fossil skull was discovered in Uruguay and scientifically described in 2008. Tomorrow I’ll show you the steps that led from the skull to the final painting.

Wikipedia on Josephoartigasia.

10 comments:

Patrick J. McQuade said...

That is awesome!

Martin said...

Hey James -- Awesome work on the big rodent!

It's great to find out about it through your work, there was never much news about it over here in Uruguay. It's very close to its descendant, the 'carpincho', and the guys who discovered it must have thought it was an important find to name it after José Artigas, the national hero...

I can't wait to look at the process behind the piece.

Cheers
Martin Ansin
martinansin.com

Moai said...

Incredible work, James. I love how you can keep things painterly without sacrificing detail and specificity. I've recently taken up oil painting, so I admire your work even more now.

=shane white= said...

Wow, stellar piece.

It was just yesterday that I found out about the Glyptodontidae:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glyptodontidae
which is quite amazing.

=s=

Steve said...

Wonderful painting. I'll be curious to see if sketching a donkey was part of your process -- that's what the exposed teeth and pulled back lips look like to me.

Jim, yesterday I had the opportunity to take a "behind closed doors" tour of the University of Michigan's Natural History Museum. Tables and drawers overflowing with skulls, ribs, and mastadon tusks. We were shown castings of the teeth from Lyuba, the frozen baby mammoth who "modeled" for you in one of the earlier Ranger Rick paintings. We also got to examine the skull and vertebrae of the earliest known species of whales. You would have enjoyed it.

Drew said...

This actually reminded me of a book that published a long time ago called "Life after Man." A lot of great speculative evolutionary theory in it, with some splendid naturalistic drawings.

Anyway, what happened on that alternate Earth after man went extinct, is that rodents rose up and filled all the niches in various ways...some rabbits evolved into deer-like beings, rats became large herbivores and carnivores...fascinating stuff. Have you ever seen that book?

bonequinhoda bic said...

Beautyful...
Congrats, you´ve a gigantic talent.Love your posts.

Frank P. Ordaz said...

wowie! love it

Roberto said...

Drew-
A quick google search found this book:

http://www.amazon.com/After-Man-Zoology-Dougal-Dixon/dp/0312194331/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpi_3#reader

and this guy’s blog with a related illustration that you might enjoy:

http://jimwoodring.blogspot.com/2007/07/life-after-man.html

-RQ

Jeanie W said...

Awesome picture! Now you've got my pet gerbils acting cocky.