A micro-CT scan reveals the delicate feathers that cover the dinosaur tail. Photo by Lida Xing, courtesy National Geographic.
The first known dinosaur tail preserved in a piece of amber was recently discovered by paleontologist Lida Xing while collection samples in Myanmar last year. Dating back to the mid-Cretaceous Period some 99 million years ago, the roughly apricot-sized piece of amber contains a 1.4-inch appendage of 8 vertebrae unmistakably covered in primitive feathers. Scientists ruled out the possibility of the tail belonging to a bird, and based on its structure believe it came from a juvenile coelurosaur, a group of dinosaurs that includes tyrannosaurs. Via National Geographic:
While individual dinosaur-era feathers have been found in amber, and evidence for feathered dinosaurs is captured in fossil impressions, this is the first time that scientists are able to clearly associate well-preserved feathers with a dinosaur, and in turn gain a better understanding of the evolution and structure of dinosaur feathers.
Barcelona-based illustrator Vorja Sánchez depicts comically surreal storybook creatures that look like a cross between mutant dinosaurs and shadowy demons—but also captures the very lifelike spirit of birds and other animals. Working with a variety of mediums from pen and link to watercolor or spray paint, each piece is inspired by events in his daily life, an observation he makes while walking through the forest, or drawing from a recent stint living in Nicaragua where he organized painting classes for children and adults. Sánchez has just begun working as a full-time artist in the last few months and is currently wrapping up work on an illustrated book. You can follow more of his artwork on Facebook and Instagram.
Barcelona-based artist Pejac (previously) was recently in Rijeka, Croatia where he completed a number of new artworks as part of a residency with the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. His most impressive new intervention appeared in the windows of an abandoned power plant where the artist utilized the cracked glass in old windows to form a flock of birds escaping the aim of a boy in silhouette holding a slingshot. Titled Camouflage, Pejac says the work is in tribute to artist René Magritte who famously depicted birds in many of his paintings as silhouettes filled with clouds. You can see more of his work in Croatia on Arrested Motion.
Photographer Jess Findlay recently captured this amazing shot of a fiery-throated hummingbird while shooting in the Talamanca Mountains in Costa Rica. The image is a result of hundreds of photos taken over several hours with a telephoto lens as he waited patiently for one of the small birds to perch at just the right angle. Findlay shares with Colossal:
Several of these hummingbirds were visiting a nectar feeder. As they fed hungrily, often quarreling with one another, occasionally one would get displaced onto a nearby branch. I waited by the branch for a couple hours, staying very still. I used a telephoto lens with a special attachment that allowed me to focus on close subjects. What made this a challenge was how fidgety these birds can be and the fact that the full spectrum of colour is only seen when they pause at a very specific angle.
Findlay is a native of Vancouver where he’s extremely active in the photography community, offering a wide variety of workshops. You can see more of his work on Instagram.
As part of a fascinating courting behavior, this Costa’s hummingbird flares the feathers around its face to create a poof of iridescent pink that bears an uncanny resemblance to the shape of a cartoonish baby octopus. The near complete lack of interest from the female bird in this video is almost comical, there’s a metaphor here. (via Geyser of Awesome)
Marco Mazzoni (previously here and here) creates works that at first lead the viewer astray, appearing as bouquets or nests until one notices fins protruding from the flora that sprawls across his Moleskine sketchbooks. Some works concentrate on small groups of animals while others serve as finely drawn “I Spy” collages, as he incorporates camouflaged toads and birds into lush, textured gardens.
Colored pencil is the Italian artist’s medium of choice, cool pastels of purple, blue and pink forming most of his paused still lifes. Recently Mazzoni produced a series titled “Illustrated Encyclopedia of Mental Diseases,” illustrations which were included in the group exhibition “Cluster” at Jonathan LeVine Gallery in New York City this August. You can view more of the artist’s odd animal clusters on his Instagram, Facebook, and Tumblr.