Not only is Jeff Martz a really good geologist and paleontologist he also is very skilled as an illustrator (check out his M.S. thesis Martz , his skeletal reconstruction of Desmatosuchus [from Parker, 2008], and this link at Discovery News for other examples of his work). Jeff has recently initiated a new series of Late Triassic animal reconstructions from Petrified Forest National Park and has generously offered to let me share some of them on my site rather than showing them on his site. The park has been sorely lacking up-to-date reconstructions of many of its Triassic animals, as most existing reconstructions date from the 1980s and do not include the majority of new finds. This is the first of the series and I won't tell you what taxon this is. Instead I'll leave to you to guess its identity.
These represent slightly different reconstructions of the same animal. It is challenging to try to provide realistic yet thought provoking reconstructions, especially regarding skin color, texture, and soft tissue. The coloration and patterning of most animals fall into a few broad catagories including camouflage, disruptive patterning, and/or sexual display. The animal featured here is most likely a carnivore and thus was provided with more of a disruptive pattern that would allow the animal a mechanism to distract prey by making the body outline hard to see, and thus distance and speed difficult to judge. The upper reconstruction adds hypothesized soft parts including a 'dewlap' and other features which may or may not have been present, and thus are speculative yet feasible for display.
As long as Jeff is willing, I hope to provide more of these new reconstructions in the future.
Martz, J.W. 2002. The morphology and ontogeny of Typothorax coccinarum (Archosauria, Stagonolepididae) from the upper triassic of the American Southwest. Unpublished M.S. thesis. Texas Tech University, Lubbock.
Parker, W.G. 2008. Description of new material of the aetosaur Desmatosuchus spurensis (Archosauria: Suchia) from the Chinle Formation of Arizona and a revision of the genus Desmatosuchus. PaleoBios , 28:1-40.
9 hours ago in Variety of Life