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About Professional Artist Maija KaralaFemale/Finland Groups :iconprehistory-alive: Prehistory-Alive
Bringing prehistory back to life
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Lights in the Deep by Eurwentala Lights in the Deep :iconeurwentala:Eurwentala 319 23 Far From Home by Eurwentala Far From Home :iconeurwentala:Eurwentala 242 42 Wild Horses 3 by Eurwentala Wild Horses 3 :iconeurwentala:Eurwentala 747 26 Horse from the North by Eurwentala Horse from the North :iconeurwentala:Eurwentala 214 30 Dreams of Eemian 2 by Eurwentala Dreams of Eemian 2 :iconeurwentala:Eurwentala 349 15 Dreams of Eemian 1 by Eurwentala Dreams of Eemian 1 :iconeurwentala:Eurwentala 285 19 Inside of a Perch by Eurwentala Inside of a Perch :iconeurwentala:Eurwentala 207 23 Circles of Life by Eurwentala Circles of Life :iconeurwentala:Eurwentala 186 12 Worlds within Worlds by Eurwentala Worlds within Worlds :iconeurwentala:Eurwentala 115 13 A Wonder of Nature by Eurwentala A Wonder of Nature :iconeurwentala:Eurwentala 147 48 Anatomy of the noble crayfish by Eurwentala Anatomy of the noble crayfish :iconeurwentala:Eurwentala 163 13 The Walking Kangaroo by Eurwentala The Walking Kangaroo :iconeurwentala:Eurwentala 415 22 Jewel of the Amazon by Eurwentala Jewel of the Amazon :iconeurwentala:Eurwentala 217 27 Plateosaurus by Eurwentala Plateosaurus :iconeurwentala:Eurwentala 430 17 Hippidion Muscle Study by Eurwentala Hippidion Muscle Study :iconeurwentala:Eurwentala 137 5 Brush pen Hippidion by Eurwentala Brush pen Hippidion :iconeurwentala:Eurwentala 313 18

Random Favourites

Roe Deer by SageKorppi Roe Deer :iconsagekorppi:SageKorppi 14 2 Maned Wolf by SageKorppi Maned Wolf :iconsagekorppi:SageKorppi 189 14 Triarthrus by SageKorppi Triarthrus :iconsagekorppi:SageKorppi 29 2 Rabbirds: Mourning Doves by ursulav Rabbirds: Mourning Doves :iconursulav:ursulav 4,340 329 Solnhofen by dustdevil Solnhofen :icondustdevil:dustdevil 203 20 Foxfire by Spyrre Foxfire :iconspyrre:Spyrre 80 29 WIP: Ki-rin by Spyrre WIP: Ki-rin :iconspyrre:Spyrre 49 9 Selfish by yuumei
Mature content
Selfish :iconyuumei:yuumei 25,499 5,684
Tidal Swirls Ammonite by Nambroth Tidal Swirls Ammonite :iconnambroth:Nambroth 955 69 Limusaurus skeletal by Dinomaniac Limusaurus skeletal :icondinomaniac:Dinomaniac 98 14 Kitten Maker by Kamirah Kitten Maker :iconkamirah:Kamirah 24,213 5,005 PtIII: Calculated Strike by tuomaskoivurinne PtIII: Calculated Strike :icontuomaskoivurinne:tuomaskoivurinne 134 7


Lights in the Deep
The deep seas are home to some absolutely amazing creatures. Among my favourites are the dragonfishes (Stomiidae). Perhaps the most well known of the group is Malacosteus niger, or the stoplight loosejaw (left). As the name suggests, the fish has a red bioluminescent organ under its eye. This is pretty odd, since red light is filtered away by water and basically does not exist in the deep: most deep sea animals can't see red at all, and some of them are bright red as a camouflage - it's the same as being black.

However, the stoplight loosejaw has a red light AND can see red, thanks to a photopigment that is derived from chlorophyll - which is an oddity as well, collected from sinking dead algae by the crustaceans this animal eats. How exactly it manages to catch smallish crustaceans with such a jaw structure, nobody knows. However, we do know how it finds them: with a private flashlight nobody else can see!

The other fish is a related species, Pachystomias microdon or the smalltooth dragonfish. It has an even more complex assortment of lights on it than the stoplight loosejaw. I have no idea what they're all used for.

This was my first attempt at using Procreate on iPad for colouring. Turned out ok, I think.
Far From Home
At the heart of the last Ige Age, a rhinoceros died in Siberia. This in itself is not remarkable, since Siberia was teeming with woolly rhinos at the time. But this one was something else. It was a Merck's rhinoceros (Stephanorhinus kirchbergensis), a woodland species mostly associated with warm, interglacial forests. In fact, it has been suggested the species was unable to cope with glacial periods anywhere in Eurasia except in the low latitudes of Southern China.

But there it is, a well preserved skull between 48,000 and 70,000 years old, coming from the very northernmost Yakutia, which even today is an extreme environment. The skull is so well preserved there's no question about species identity. It even wielded a complete mitochondrial genome, plenty of remains of the rhino's last meals and details about it's death. It turns out, the rhino died in wintertime, collapsing into flowing water. At the time of death, it was at least 20 years old - a middle-aged rhino. Its winter fodder consisted of mostly twigs and bark of larch (Larix), supplemented with birch (Betula), willow (Salix), Vaccinium, and mosses. The presence of mosses hints that the rhinoceros was starving. Most herbivores only resort to them when there is a lack of more nutritious plants.

What should we make of a rhino so far from where it was supposed to live? Perhaps it could serve as a lesson about the incompleteness of the fossil record, even from recent times such as the latest Ice Age. Common species are much more likely to be preserved in the fossil record, while rare species might occupy large areas for a long time and never end up in our fossil collections.

Another lesson might be the huge adaptability of Pleistocene animals. After about ten cycles of Ice Ages and interglacials, the species that still survived likely had the skills to survive in a wide variety of environments. In warm interglacial Western Europe, the same species had a completely different diet of deciduous trees, nettles and lilypads.

Reference: Kirillova et al. 2017: Discovery of the skull of Stephanorhinus kirchbergensis (Jäger, 1839) above the Arctic Circle. Quaternary Research 88(3): 537-550.
Wild Horses 3
This is a chart on colours of Eurasian wild horses or tarpans (Equus ferus) of Late Pleistocene and Holocene - a surprisingly varied population, as shown by ancient dna and cave art. This is the stock from which our domestic horses were bred from. They only went extinct around year 1900.

After publishing the first two versions of this one, I kept reading about colouration in wild and domestic equids, had some interesting discussions here on dA, and felt the need to make an updated version.

This piece is also available as a high-quality print in our new Society6 shop:…

Depicted is a selection of possible combinations of the alleles known to have been present in wild tarpans. According to the data set of Pruvost et al. (2011), the most common colours were bay dun, grullo, and spotted bay dun. All these seem to be also depicted in European cave art. According to Imsland et al. (2016) the dun allele was also polymorphic in wild horse population, causing some individuals to be darker than others.

Different combinations would have necessarily occurred from time to time, when horses of different colours mated. The LP allele, producing leopard spotting, is affected by a large number of modifiers. I depicted a few possible outcomes of it, but for the time being, we have little hints on which patterns where really present. The spotted horse paintings of Pech Merle cave, France, look like they have a leopard or blanket spotting with dark head and neck.

Additions to the earlier versions include subtler details not revealed by ancient dna testing so far. All horses now have pangaré colouration, that is, countershading on the body typical to wild equids and breeds considered "primitive". The level of pangaré varies, as shown by wonderful cave paintings in Ekain Cave, Spain. Some horses only had whitish bellies, while in others, the white reached up their sides and down their legs. This might have been variety between summer and winter coats, and/or adaptations to environments with different amounts of tree cover. These horses had a variable amount of striping on their legs and necks, from nonexistent to quite strong, which was also documented in detail by someone in Ekain Cave 13 000 years ago. Another detail often shown in cave paintings is that the neck and head are darker than the rest of the body.

Ancient dna studies are the other important source of information. The letters underneath each horse refer to their alleles. These four were polymorphic in the tarpan population:

Agouti locus
A - dominant allele causing brown coat
a/a - recessive allele causing black coat

Extension locus
E - dominant allele enabling black in coat and mane
e/e - recessive allele preventing black coat and mane (result being a chestnut horse)

Dun locus
D - dun, a diluting factor present in wild horses and asses. Causes lighter coat colour and primitive markings (two-coloured mane, stripes etc.)
d1/d1 - recessive allele causing non-dun colour (black, bay, or chestnut, depending on the base colour). Leaves some primitive markings visible.
(d2 is the non-dun allele dominant in domestic horses, but unknown in wild ones)

Leopard / varnish roan locus
lp/lp - no leopard complex, no spots
LP/lp - leopard complex, spotted
LP/LP - leopard complex, mostly white. There is a night vision defect associated with homozygous animals, probably making them vulnerable to predators.

I had to assume this one, since genetic test for it was only developed in 2016 and it hasn't yet been widely tested on ancient horses:

PATN1 - patterning factor, causes leopard spots with LP


Cave paintings:
Lascaux bay dun horse:…
Lascaux horse paintings with stripes, spots, dark heads, and possibly non-dun colouration:
Ekain Cave grullo, bay dun and striped horses:…
Spotted horses of Pech Merle:…
Chauvet blackish horses:…
Horse from the North
Nope, my obsession with wild horses is still not over!

This is based on the idea (supported by dna evidence) that Ice Age steppe horses were one huge population, stretching from Europe to North America and sharing an ever-dynamic variety of appearance. The horse depicted here is based partly on wonderful cave paintings in Ekain Cave, Basque Country, Spain. These paintings are seemingly a documentation of local wild horse colouration, including the one this piece is based on. Partly, it was inspired by a 1993 discovery of a partial horse carcass in Yukon, Canada. The carcass - now fittingly on display in Whitehorse - was a small horse with whitish mane, tail and guard hairs and dark brown lower legs. Interestingly, the mane is reported to be rather long, possibly hanging like that of a domestic horse.


Dna of North American horses:…
Ekain Cave paintings:…
Hi everyone!

I finished the third part of my Zoology for Paleoartists blog posts. While the last two were concerned on which colours are possible in non-avian dinosaurs, this one discusses what kind of colours are ecologically plausible - that is, how evolution shapes animal colour. The needs to camouflage, impress mates or warn off predators are different for each species, producing the incredible diversity of colours and patterns in the animal kingdom.

Includes original artwork!


Eurwentala's Profile Picture
Maija Karala
Artist | Professional
A biology jack of all trades. I illustrate, blog, write and teach.


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MutantEnjin Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2018   Artist
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quillsandchimes Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
very cool gallery, earned a new watcher c: its pretty much science and art coming together and i like that a lot c: keep up the great work
Alithographica Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2018  Professional
Thanks for the watch! I've been enjoying your work! c:
Eurwentala Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2018  Professional
Thanks! I'm enjoying yours now I finally found it. Such a nice way to popularize science!
Czepeku Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2018
Absolutely inspiring gallery, you definitely have an eye of appreciation for nature. Keep up your good work!
JulioNicoletti Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Hey I love your stuff, do you have instagram?
Eurwentala Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2018  Professional
Thanks! Nice to hear that. We have a shared Instagram with Dinomaniac. You might like it:
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