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Nature's Wonders Sneak Peek Thread

Discussion in 'Show Me The Honey' started by Ken Gilliland, Dec 22, 2015.

  1. Ken Gilliland

    Ken Gilliland Extraordinary HW3D Exclusive Artist

    Yes, I saw that this morning and alerted Alisa, and as you can see, she fixed it. That's partially the reason for my last post explaining Tortoises is an "add-on" Volume. Sorry If there was any confusion.

    "Requires: Dawn" did make me smile... If Chris made my tortoise model, it probably would have required Dawn, after all isn't Dawn the mother of the whole Hivewire3D Animal universe? ;)
    Chris, Rae134 and mininessie like this.
  2. Stezza

    Stezza Extraordinary

    no probs.. no confusion for me.. just worried that Dawn may of been in the kitchen cooking up some soup! eeeek!
    Alisa and Ken Gilliland like this.
  3. Harimau

    Harimau Eager

    I've just purchased your turtle sets. They are very nice. I hope you will include a giant Galapagos or Aldabra tortoise in a future set (or maybe even both), and I think you mentioned that you may eventually also do a set on the seven extant marine turtles.

    I'd like to post a series of proto-turtles here in the hope that it may inspire you to do a series on these too. I am sure a lot of people will be interested to know how the turtle got its shell.

    Turtles haven’t changed much over the past 210 million years. They all have a top shell (carapace) formed from the fusion of their spine and ribs, a bottom shell (plastron) that protects their belly, a sharp beak and a mouth without any teeth. But the group lacks a feature common to most modern reptiles - two pairs of holes in their skull, behind their eyes, where jaw muscles attached (diapsid). The absence of those holes (anapsid) has contributed to a decades-long debate on the exact position of turtles on the reptile family tree. Turtles are now considered diapsids that that have become secondarily anapsid.

    A series of proto-turtles and turtles in a developmental sequence from unarmoured to heavily armoured: tumblr_pd9czdREZC1rj34fvo1_1280.png tumblr_pd9czdREZC1rj34fvo2_1280.png

    1. Eunotosaurus africanus, a 30 centimetre long fossorial proto-turtle that lived 260 million years ago in South Africa, possessed wide and flat ribs that gave it a distinctly rounded and turtle-like profile. Like turtles, it did not have the intercostal muscles that moves the rib cage. It mixed features of its lizard-like ancestors with emerging turtle-like characteristics. It was first described over a century ago and was for a long time ascribed to the Parareptilia (a primitive anapsid). It was only recently discovered (in 2015) that the skull of Eunotosaurus grew in such a way that its diapsid nature is obvious in juveniles but almost completely obscured in adults (a ‘cryptic’ diapsid). It was a diapsid reptile in the process of becoming secondarily anapsid - a transitional "turtle". It is the oldest precursor of turtles. It is interesting to note that the broad and flat rib precursor to the turtle's protectective shell did not initially evolve for protection but for burrowing. Eunotosaurus it seems was a fine-tuned digging machine. Broadening ribs in turtle ancestors eventually evolved into the protective shell that turtles have today.

    A reconstruction of Eunotosaurus africanus:
    Eunotosaurus africanus.jpg

    A reconstruction of the skeleton of Eunotosaurus africanus:
    eunotosaurus-75a7e97e-5fec-4efd-ab3b-6fec5c8abbe-resize-750 - large.jpg

    2. Pappochelys rosinae (Pappochelys translates as "grandfather turtle"), was discovered in Germany in 2015. The mystery of how the turtle got its shell has been a long-standing question in evolutionary biology. In the case of Pappochelys, we see that its belly was protected by an array of rod-like bones, some of which are already fused to each other. Pappochelys had a wide body, small skull, and a long tail that makes up about half of its total body length of 20 centimetres. The discovery of this species confirms that the belly portion of the turtle shell, the plastron, formed through the fusion of rib-like structures and parts of the shoulder girdle. The physical traits of Pappochelys make it a clear intermediate between two of the earliest known "turtles", Eunotosaurus (a turtle precursor) and Odontochelys (a true turtle). It lived approximately 240 million years ago, also intermediate between the other two. It is a diapsid.

    A reconstruction of Pappochelys rosinae:

    A reconstruction of the skeleton of Pappochelys rosinae showing the beginnings of a plastron (in red):
    Pappo_Skelett.jpg stem-turtlePappochelys_Dorsal_horizontal.jpg

    3. Odontochelys semitestacea, diccovered in 2008, a half-shell turtle species that swam in China's coastal waters 220 million years ago was the oldest turtle known to date (Odontochelys semitestacea literally means "toothed turtle with a half-shell"). This turtle had a belly shell, but its back was basically bare of armour although its wide ribs hinted at the beginnings of a top shell. In a way, modern turtles replay the evolutionary history of their ancestors as their embryos mature, for the plates of their plastron harden before those of their carapace. Odontochelys differed grossly from modern turtles. Modern turtles have a horny beak without teeth in their mouth. In contrast, Odontochelys fossils were found to have had teeth embedded in their upper and lower jaws. It lacked a beak and has no holes in its skull (an anapsid). It is quite small, approximately 35 centimetres long.

    A reconstruction of Odontochelys semitestacea:
    Odontochelys semitestacea.jpg

    Fossil of Odontochelys semitestacea showing both dorsal and ventral views:
    Odontochelys1 - small.jpg

    A diagram showing the evolution of the turtle body plan:

    4. Eorhynchochelys sinensis (Eorhynchochelys translates as “dawn beaked turtle”) is the latest discovery (it was only discovered in 2018) and fills an evolutionary hole in how the reptiles developed the features of a turtle such as a beak and shell and a lack of holes in its skull. This large, roughly 1.8 metre-long animal, lived about 230 million years ago (intermediate between Pappochelys and Odontochelys) in coastal Southern China. This fossil turtle possesses a single pair of holes behind its eyes, suggesting a gradual transition from Pappochelys (two pairs) to Odontochelys and modern turtles (none). It had a strange disc-like body with no shell and a long tail (like Eunotosaurus and different from Pappochelys and Odontochelys both of which had plastrons), and the anterior part of its jaws developed into a strange-looking beak. By developing a beak before other turtles, while having no semblance of a shell, this early "turtle" is a prime example of mosaic evolution, in which traits evolve independently and at different times.

    A reconstruction of Eorhynchochelys sinensis (note the small partial beak on the anterior part of its jaw):
    Eorhynchochelys sinensis.jpg

    An Eorhynchochelys sinensis fossil:
    Eorhynchochelys sinensis fossil large.jpg
    Chris, Rae134 and Stezza like this.
  4. Harimau

    Harimau Eager

    5. Proganochelys quenstedti is the oldest turtle species with a complete shell discovered to date, dating to approximately 210 million years ago. It is about 1 metre in size and its remains have been found in Germany and Thailand. It is a primitive but a true fully armoured terrestrial turtle (tortoise). As you can see from the following images, turtles have not changed much at all since Proganochelys. However, it had not developed the ablity to retract its head and it had a long tail.

    A reconstruction of Proganochelys quenstedti:

    A fossil of Proganochelys:

    6. Meiolania, the giant terrestrial horned turtle from the Middle Miocene to Holocene (11 to 16 million years ago) of Australia and nearby South Pacific islands is a most interesting tortoise. It had an unusually shaped skull that sported many knob-like and horn-like protrusions. The tail was protected by armoured "rings", and sported thorn-like spikes at the end. It was the most heavily armoured turtle that ever lived. It had a body type similar to that of the armoured ankylosaurids and glyptodonts. It was large, measuring 2.5 metres in length, making it the second-largest known non-marine turtle or tortoise after Megalochelys atlas.

    A mounted Meiolania platyceps fossil:

    A reconstruction of Meiolania platyceps:

    A reconstruction of Meiolania brevicollis:
    meiolania brevicollis.jpg

    By broadening its ribs, stiffening its spine and losing its intercostal muscles as it evolved, a turtle could only move by moving its limbs fore and aft. Once out of its burrow, it could only move very slowly, hence the need to evolve an armour for its protection.

    Ventral view of a carapace of a modern turtle (snapping turtle), showing the fusion of the spine and the greatly broadened ribs as well as the rest of the shell and skeleton. Note that the scapula that is situated outside the rib-cage in all other amniotes has migrated inside to accomodate the shell:

    A diagram tracing the evolution of the turtle shell (A), and showing its associated respiratory (B and C) and locomotory (D) constraints:

    So, how does a turtle breathe with a rigid rib cage? Unable to utilize the more common respiratory process, they depend on a sling of muscles attached to their shells and viscera, which wraps around the lungs and contracts and expands to fill and then empty them. was in the process of losing its muscles that would have been involved in the breathing procedure but had already evolved the muscle sling that would aid in respiration:
  5. Ken Gilliland

    Ken Gilliland Extraordinary HW3D Exclusive Artist

    Thanks for your support and ideas... the giant Galapagos Tortoise is on my to-do list (probably v4)... I probably should have added it to the tortoise set (but that set was already crowded with species). I'm pretty sure I've already mentioned in this thread what's in the next two planned turtle sets but here it is again...

    My selections, as with my birds, tries to encompass species that are popular or iconic from throughout the region, as well as species that are interesting, keystones (to a habitat), or on the brink of extinction. I always include endangered species in my sets because my hopes are that my customers will learn about these species and find the passion to do art and inspire others (who may view that art) to care. Over 95% of today's extinctions are due to us, so we have the power to stop them.
  6. JOdel

    JOdel Extraordinary HW Honey Bear

    I saw some of those leaf turtles at a show hosted by the North American Reptile Breeders some years back. Don't know which variety, but boy they really did look like clumps of floating leaves if you weren't looking carefully.
    Dakorillon (IMArts) likes this.
  7. RX90

    RX90 New-Bee

    Are softshell turtles a possible future inclusion in this series (not near-future, obviously, as you've laid out your immediate plans for other turtles), are are they too anatomically dissimilar to work within the confines of the mesh?
  8. Ken Gilliland

    Ken Gilliland Extraordinary HW3D Exclusive Artist

    Softshell turtles "might" be possible with the current mesh and most certainly with a hybrid mesh (which I might go to if I do sea turtles). While I'm committed to the two add-on projects I've mentioned above, any more add-ons really depend on two things; a) my interest level and b) sales numbers of the sets I've already done.
  9. Chris

    Chris HW3D President Co-Founder

    Ha, certainly true on that one.
    Ken Gilliland likes this.
  10. McG.

    McG. Admirable

    I love LIFE, all creatures by Life alone have earned my curiosity! Lizards and Snakes, Reptiles of all kinds are some very interesting creatures. Older than Dinosaurs, there are thousands and thousands of species of these animals.
    In that I am from Texas, have lived in bayou country and high plains, I am interested in seeing more of some animals. Some Ken Gilliland has modeled, some he hasn't yet. So for those he hasn't, to date, where would one ask for species to be created?

    I'll try here first, and see where it goes! ;)

    Up here in the Texas panhandle, I am told there are a couple of notable lizards. Besides the ever present "Common Garden Lizard" (Carolina Anole), I've heard of Gila Monster, Blue Lizard (local name), and the good ol Horned Toad. Which is totally a lizard, no toads were involved! While growing up down near Hunting Bayou in Houston's East Side or Channel Area, we still had unpaved dirt roads in the fringe residential areas. For us kids that was great! Wasn't so hot to our feet as asphalt or concrete, and infinitely more fun with all the bugs and other creatures. Horned Toads were plentiful in the area, and a lot of fun. But they kept eating my bugs. MY bugs, I found em! The Blue Lizard was more often brought home by one of our cats. As gifts. To us, and the cats didn't eat those.
    There were more animals, and a greater variety of them, in that area when I was little. Human habitations encroached on their habitat, and the animals simply moved out and deeper into the undeveloped bordering areas. Not hard to find in Bayou Country.
    Snakes, poison and not, several lizards. Even the BIG ones, Alligators, are still much in evidence. The areas East of Buffalo Bayou were just covered in bayous and swampland. So much the Corps of Engineers literally reformed the entire flood basin to raise much land above water level for agriculture and later, residential development. Thus, HOUSTON was founded (As Harrisburg at first), and the major bayous that were left for drainage were kinda developed and routed too. Hundred years later, you'd never know it to see the place. The wildlife that was there, pretty much still is. It does tend to steer clear of Human stuff for the most part.
    In those bayous, "Alligator" is a popular name. Besides Alligator mississipiensis (American Alligator), there is the Alligator GAR and Alligator Snapping Turtle. Of the three, the Gar is the gentlest to Humans. I should shut up now and just hurry up and wait!
    Janet likes this.
  11. Janet

    Janet Extraordinary Contributing Artist

  12. McG.

    McG. Admirable

    Thanks Janet! (zoom!)
    Janet likes this.
  13. Alisa

    Alisa HW3D QAV Queen Bee QAV-BEE

    To save McG from writing that all over again, I've moved McG's long post, Janet's answer, and McG's answer to her over to this thread. ;)
  14. McG.

    McG. Admirable

    thanks and Thanks and THANKS Alisa!
  15. Alisa

    Alisa HW3D QAV Queen Bee QAV-BEE

    LOL - you're welcome :)
  16. Ken Gilliland

    Ken Gilliland Extraordinary HW3D Exclusive Artist

    Some of the critters you've suggested are already in the store or on my list... The Gila Monster is found in Lizards of the World v2. You'll need the Lizards base model for that, but you'll probably want that anyways because it contains the most common US lizard-- the Western and Eastern Fence Lizards (aka "Blue-bellies"). If I do a Lizards Volume 4, the Anole is one of the ones on my list. The horned toad is something I want to do but I'll probably have to hybridize my lizard model to create it. By the "Blue Lizard" are you referring to the Western Skink? If so, that's found in Volume 1.

    I hadn't consider doing an alligator or crocodile because there's a fairly decent one at the "other place". There are so many other critters that don't exist in our 3D universe, or have horrific models, troublesome rigging or are simply ancient that I feel those deserve my attention first. As far the Alligator Snapping Turtle, I already have a preset in my model of that and it will be included in Turtles of the New World whenever I get back to doing Nature's Wonders sets (I'm currently upgrading another batch of Songbird ReMix volumes-- check my Songbird ReMix thread for information on that). I will get back to the Old and New World Turtles before the end of the year.
    Miss B and Rae134 like this.
  17. McG.

    McG. Admirable

    Thanks Ken! I started in like a kid in a candy store with all the critters. At first I thought all you did was birds, *ALL*?!!! That's a lot! But, wandering the halls of the Museum here, I find all manner of animals, and start tossing them into my wishlist. Lizards, yes. First things first. I snatched up all the Dragons & Damsels I found on the site. Pretty good, pretty good! You have the only Damselfly model I've found. The Odonata are my favorite insect, and Salticidae are my most favorite of all Arachnids. Snakes? Hm. I don't personally like them, but do respect them and recognize the need for them in the wild. Never did enjoy being chased by a sidewinder rattler though. I could offer a zillion requests. I think your plate is piled high though, so will wait a bit, read a lot, and learn more here.
    Another note about the Damsels. You got the wings resting position right. Not many people even know they fold theirs at rest.
    Your Blue Belly Lizard, that is what Arkies called them. Yes that is what I was talking about folks up here calling them Blues. The Anoles. Is there another breed that grows to like about a foot long? I remember seeing some in some bushes at home when I was a kid. Well, bushy trees I guess. Looked like oversize garden anoles. Changed colors just like they did, have the throat bone and red throat 'flag' too.
    I will be buying quite a bunch more of your critters, Ken. If I was a rich kid I'd already have bought everything in the store! But, I got that hurry up and wait thing. That 1st of the month thing. I will get to em!
  18. McG.

    McG. Admirable

    WHO is "AM"?? Not Anton, right? I got some of his critters, yes. And the "DAZ Animals" of various make. Like the Wolf. Not AM Wolf, the older DAZ Wolf. And that's kinda how all the other critters go. Well, DinoRaul makes Dinosaurs and TREES! I always associated certain things with certain folks. I can take the old card and toss it. It's a new game acatually! Yeah, I AM slow, Ken. Seems the more birthdays ya pile up the worse that gets.
  19. Dreamer

    Dreamer Dream Weaver Designs Contributing Artist

    Hehe @McG. You never change, (and please dont ever change), talkin so fast ya fingers a like to start smokin lol. Good to see you here
  20. McG.

    McG. Admirable

    Dragons & Damsels. I've referred to the Odonata in that fanciful way since I observed them gobbling down mosquitoes. While they were sucking my blood. I realized in that moment the Dragonflies weren't the devil bugs another kid was calling them. They eat the things that eat us, they are FRIENDS! And, they are gorgeous, they are masters of the air! And when you see them flying around, do realize they won't live beyond the end of the Summer. They are carnivorous from the moment they hatch into water until they drop from the air. They are harder to study as Naiads, as they live underwater. Any small body of water that lasts will do for them. They spend from 1 year to as many as 7 years in some species as water Naiads. Their last molt, the gills become their wings. And they eat mosquito wigglers galore as naiads! Amazing creatures. Dragons & Damsels are 1st cousins. Both have that bold attitude too. Damsels to their occasional end, will attack and try to eat a dragonfly. Yep. That Damsel is gone. Dinner!

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