Shop Forum More Submit  Join Login
About Traditional Art / Professional Brian ChooMale/Australia Group :iconprehistory-alive: Prehistory-Alive
Bringing prehistory back to life
Recent Activity
Deviant for 7 Years
Needs Core Membership
Statistics 77 Deviations 681 Comments 91,472 Pageviews

Newest Deviations

Pickeringius acanthophorus by Gogosardina Pickeringius acanthophorus :icongogosardina:Gogosardina 131 9 Dromornis planei (the former Bullockornis) by Gogosardina Dromornis planei (the former Bullockornis) :icongogosardina:Gogosardina 171 45 Ligulalepis toombsi by Gogosardina Ligulalepis toombsi :icongogosardina:Gogosardina 195 7 Hongyu chowi by Gogosardina Hongyu chowi :icongogosardina:Gogosardina 207 9 Sparalepis tingi by Gogosardina Sparalepis tingi :icongogosardina:Gogosardina 196 11 The Leviathan of Beaumaris by Gogosardina The Leviathan of Beaumaris :icongogosardina:Gogosardina 321 47 Moythomasia lineata by Gogosardina Moythomasia lineata :icongogosardina:Gogosardina 150 11 Yi qi. Dragon of the Daohugou by Gogosardina Yi qi. Dragon of the Daohugou :icongogosardina:Gogosardina 321 67 Microbrachius dicki = Sex in the Devonian by Gogosardina Microbrachius dicki = Sex in the Devonian :icongogosardina:Gogosardina 147 32 Megamastax - the first vertebrate apex predator by Gogosardina Megamastax - the first vertebrate apex predator :icongogosardina:Gogosardina 348 33 TSoSC#4 = Lariosaurus goes for a stroll by Gogosardina TSoSC#4 = Lariosaurus goes for a stroll :icongogosardina:Gogosardina 325 37 Chengjiang Biota - the dawn of the vertebrates by Gogosardina Chengjiang Biota - the dawn of the vertebrates :icongogosardina:Gogosardina 242 22 Elephant bird = The Kiwi's lost cousin by Gogosardina Elephant bird = The Kiwi's lost cousin :icongogosardina:Gogosardina 164 24 Entelognathus #4: Study of a weird fish by Gogosardina Entelognathus #4: Study of a weird fish :icongogosardina:Gogosardina 107 6 Entelognathus #3: Shaking the tree by Gogosardina Entelognathus #3: Shaking the tree :icongogosardina:Gogosardina 67 8 Entelognathus #2: Evo from the fish's mouth by Gogosardina Entelognathus #2: Evo from the fish's mouth :icongogosardina:Gogosardina 65 8

Random Favourites

Megalania by Swordlord3d Megalania :iconswordlord3d:Swordlord3d 726 65 Oystercatcher by LisaPannek Oystercatcher :iconlisapannek:LisaPannek 195 34 What Photography cannot do by LisaPannek What Photography cannot do :iconlisapannek:LisaPannek 117 18 Beckwithia typa by NocturnalSea Beckwithia typa :iconnocturnalsea:NocturnalSea 103 21 Yangchuanosaurus shangyouensis skeletals by SpinoInWonderland Yangchuanosaurus shangyouensis skeletals :iconspinoinwonderland:SpinoInWonderland 116 67 Eurypterids by WillemSvdMerwe Eurypterids :iconwillemsvdmerwe:WillemSvdMerwe 225 33 Austrophyllolepis by Plioart Austrophyllolepis :iconplioart:Plioart 122 9 Daily Paint 1901# Riceratops by Cryptid-Creations Daily Paint 1901# Riceratops :iconcryptid-creations:Cryptid-Creations 7,308 196 Selfie by Satchely Selfie :iconsatchely:Satchely 12,951 1,063 Doki Doki Literature Club by Satchely Doki Doki Literature Club :iconsatchely:Satchely 4,093 227 Halszkaraptor by Hyrotrioskjan Halszkaraptor :iconhyrotrioskjan:Hyrotrioskjan 791 71 Dinosaur Fauna of the Wonthaggi Formation by Tomozaurus Dinosaur Fauna of the Wonthaggi Formation :icontomozaurus:Tomozaurus 273 29 Ankylosaurus magniventris - Saurian by LittleBaardo Ankylosaurus magniventris - Saurian :iconlittlebaardo:LittleBaardo 486 33 Torvosaurus by FredtheDinosaurman Torvosaurus :iconfredthedinosaurman:FredtheDinosaurman 682 108 Austroraptor for Wikipedia by FredtheDinosaurman Austroraptor for Wikipedia :iconfredthedinosaurman:FredtheDinosaurman 631 44 Spiclypeus shipporum by Olorotitan Spiclypeus shipporum :iconolorotitan:Olorotitan 607 45


Pickeringius acanthophorus

2016 & 2018, acrylics, photography and digital.

380 million years ago, Late Devonian (early Frasnian), Gogo Formation, Western Australia.

The basal actinopterygian Pickeringius acanthophorus* is the latest member of the incredible Gogo reef fauna to named and described. The name means “David Pickering’s spine-bearer”. Dave Pickering was a legendary fossil preparator and science communicator who was the senior collections manager of Museums Victoria's vast vertebrate fossil collection until his death in late 2016.

Pickeringius at first appears to possess a bog-standard palaeoniscoid-grade anatomy, similar to contemporaries like Moythomasia. However there are a couple of peculiarities that set this fish apart.

Firstly, it is the prickliest Devonian fish I’ve ever seen. The dermal surfaces of the skull roof and pectoral girdle are ornamented with tooth-like denticles unlike the long ridges found on other Devonian ray-fins. The scales bear thick teardrop shaped ridges that terminate in sharpened points. Even the fin-rays are lined sharp saw-blade serrations.

Secondly, Pickeringius has enormous spiracular openings, unlike the minute spiracles of other early ray-fins. Modern fishes use enlarged spiracles for air-breathing at the water’s surface (Polypterus) or to facilitate water respiration when lying on or buried in sediment (skates and rays). We’re not sure why Pickeringius had these structures, but it is interesting to note that the unrelated Gogo tetrapodomorph Gogonasus also independently evolved huge spiracles. Perhaps the two fish (which are both rare in the assemblage) frequented similar habitats?

Reference = Brian Choo, Jing Lu, Sam Giles, Kate Trinajstic and John Long (2018) A NEW ACTINOPTERYGIAN FROM THE LATE DEVONIAN GOGO FORMATION, WESTERN AUSTRALIA. Papers in Paleontology =…



Dromornis planei (the former Bullockornis)

acrylics, digital & photography, 2015 &2018

ca.13 million years ago, mid-Miocene, Bullock Creek, Northern Territory, Australia

At the onset of the breeding season, two Dromornis planei drakes warily size each other up. The closer bird utters a booming warning call while the other male examines his rival’s brightly coloured bill, a reliable indicator of health and strength.

Dromornis planei is the bird formerly known as Bullockornis the Demon Duck of Doom. As it turns out, these magnificent 2.5m tall birds were neither ducks nor the bringers of doom.

Mihirungs (Dromornithidae) were once considered to be giant flightless members of the waterfowl clade Anseriformes. Recent analyses have revealed that they belong to an extinct radiation of stem-Galloanserae, basal to both waterfowl and the Galliformes.

A popular 1990s hypothesis presented these birds as hypercarnivores, which used their enormous beaks to slice up their prey. Subsequent research has failed to support this model and these animals were probably herbivores or generalist omnivores. Arguments against the “duck of doom" model include = 

* Absence of a hooked bill or sharp talons for tearing meat.
* The bill, while deep, is also extremely thin with limited attachment areas for biting musculature.
Small eyes that face to the sides of the head.
High relative abundance to potential prey. Large mihirungs are often the most abundant big animals in their fossil assemblage.

Multiple phylogenetic analyses have resolved Bullockornis as being deeply nested within Dromornis as the sister-taxon of D.stirtoni. The mid-Miocene D.planei (= Bullockornis) is so similar to the late Miocene D. stirtoni that the two are likely an example of anagensis within a single population over time. “Bullockornis” differs from D. stirtoni in having stockier, shorter legs while the bones in the back of the skull are a bit less squished together. Together, this pair clusters with later D. australis, the type species from the early Pliocene, and the Oligocene-Miocene D. murrayi, the oldest member of the genus.

So what did Dromornis use its gigantic bill for? Recent research by Warren Handley and Trevor Worthy at Flinders Uni has shown the uppermost parts of the upper bills of many specimens are both roughened and highly porous, pitted with numerous blood vessels. It is possible that this surface acted as an anchor for a soft-tissue structure, so with Worthy's guidance I've reconstructed a greatly enlarged cere covering most of the upper mandible, similar to that of the modern Cape Barren Goose (Cereopsis). So perhaps the remarkable bills of Dromornis evolved to maximise a brightly coloured display surface.






Ligulalepis toombsi
2017. acrylics, pencil, digital and photography.

ca.400 million years ago, Early Devonian (Emsian), Burrunjuck area, New South Wales, Australia (Taemas Limestone)

Illustration for = Alice M Clement, Benedict King, Sam Giles, Brian Choo, Per E Ahlberg, Gavin C Young, John A Long (2018) Neurocranial anatomy of an enigmatic Early Devonian fish sheds light on early osteichthyan evolution. eLIFE DOI: 10.7554/eLife.34349

A pair of sardine-sized fishes (Ligualepis cf.toombsi) cruise over a shallow coastal reef off the shores of far-eastern Gondwana.

lived from the latter part of the Silurian to the Early Devonian Period. It was originally described on the basis of isolated scales, initially from the Early Devonian (Emsian) of New South Wales (L. toombsi) and subsequently in the Silurian (Ludlow) of Yunnan, China (L. yunnanensis). The scales were rhombic in shape and similar to those found in Devonian ray-finned fishes. Unsurprisingly, it was long considered to be an early-model actinopterygian.

In 2000, a partial braincase and skull roof from the Taemas Limestone of NSW (where the original type scales were found) was tentatively assigned to this genus and displayed a very odd combination of characters. So odd that Ligulalepis has bounced around the cladograms as a stem-gnathostome (basal jawed fish), a stem-osteicthyan (basal bony fish), a stem-actinopterygian (primitive ray-finned fish), or even a stem-sarcopterygian (primitive lobe-finned fish).

In 2016, PhD student Ben King made a phenomenal discovery at Taemas = a second skull (ANU V3628) in much better condition than the original. A bunch of us from Flinders University, Uppsala University and Oxford examined both these skulls with the benefit of micro-CT scanning and have provided a detailed description of this ancient fish. Ligualepis is resolved as a stem-osteichthyan, representing a form that branched off before the divergence of the ray-finned and lobe-finned fishes. It is the most basal bony fish known from a decent 3-dimensionally preserved braincase.

While Ligualalepis was a bony fish, it's skull contained a suite of characters more typical of other vertebrate groups. For example, it had =
*an eyestalk, an archaic character present in placoderms and chrondrichthyans but long thought to be absent in bony fishes.  
*a median hypophysial vein linking the pituitary vein to the hypophyseal chamber, a configuration also found in early placoderms.
*a labyrinth region (in the otic capsule) similar to early sharks and acanthodians, but entirely different from those of other bony fishes.

With our greater understanding of this and other ancient fishes, we are closing in on the default settings for all the jawed vertebrates.

Note that these reconstructions are largely hypothetical. At present all we have of this fish are disarticulated skulls, scales, fin-rays and possibly a lower jaw. It is probable, but not 100% certain, that the excellent skulls go with the type scales. No other fish fossils from the Taemas Limestone (placoderms, acanthodians and sarcopterygians) possesses the distinctive linear ornament found on the scales and skulls attributed to Ligualepis.
We made this holoscape with pics we downloaded off Google images - spared no expense.…


Gogosardina's Profile Picture
Brian Choo
Artist | Professional | Traditional Art
An Australian vertebrate palaeontologist. I mainly work on Silurian-Devonian fishes, especially basal actinopterygians.


Add a Comment:
Jdailey1991 Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2018
Happy Birthday
BudderZilla Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2018
Happy Birthday! (Congrats/Congratulations Cake) B (Alphabets)R (Alphabets)I (Alphabets)A (Alphabets)N Alphabets (Words)
C (Alphabets)H (Alphabets)O Alphabets (Words)O Alphabets (Words)! Exclamation mark (Symbols)
Gogosardina Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2018  Professional Traditional Artist
Wow, thanks for that!
BudderZilla Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2018
You're welcome. :) (Smile) 
Keep on doing absolutely great work!
VanishingSilence Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Have a not shitty birthday!
Add a Comment: