Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Maiacetus, Part 1

The Maiacetus ("Good Mother Whale") is known from two fossils, and was first described in 2009. From the evidence, scientists have suggested that this four-legged whale ancestor gave birth on land, but lived most of its life in the water.

I wanted to show this land/water lifestyle by portraying the Maiacetus and its young wading in the shallows. Here's the sketch I presented to the art director of Ranger Rick magazine (the finished picture appears in this month's issue). Friday I'll show you the maquette and the finished picture.
Wikipedia on Maiacetus.
More about Ranger Rick, with an interview about the process.


Andrew said...

Whoa! I didn't know we had fossils of a transient cetacean! That's actually a really disturbing image, to see a wolf-like whale.

2009 seems to be the year of "missing links", so to speak: the fossil remains of Ardi, the discovery of a transitional pterosaur (dubbed Darwinopterus, amusingly enough,) and now this.

Ancient whales always fascinated me, just for the weirdness of a terrestrial animal moving back to an all-water habitat. Sometimes I wonder if they would ever swing back the other way.

margplum said...

I picked up a copy of Ranger Rick yesterday and the paintings look fantastic. Thanks for the insight on how you did them.

eric said...

stole my nephews ranger rick tonight!!

awsome paintings!! they gave you a nice big layout, love the wooly mamoths!

Moai said...

That's a gorgeous skeleton!
I'm looking forward to seeing the progression on this.