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Jehol Bird and Arils
By MattMart   |   Watch
125 15 7K (1 Today)
Published: March 27, 2010
© 2010 - 2019 MattMart
The long-tailed bird Jeholornis prima perches on the stump of a tree fern to feed on yew cones for their berry-like arils. Fossils of this bird from the Chinese Juifotang Formation preserve numerous seeds of indeterminate species in its crop, proving it was a frugivore or granivore. While its poor flying ability probably meant it normally foraged on the ground, it could certainly have climbed or flapped clumsily from a tree to reach a bit higher and access some untouched food sources.

Fruit, grain, and insects are a prime source of carotenoid pigment, and frugivorous birds often display flares of color like bright red and yellow (or even green if iridescence is also present) not seen in their drabber carnivorous or piscivorous relatives.
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Comments (15)
CartoonBen's avatar
CartoonBenEdited |Student Digital Artist
:) (Smile) You know, I had no idea Jeholornis's real name was Shenzhouraptor. Thanks for letting me know. By the way, as an author, illustrator, and writer (who doesn't always do the writing on his own), I was thinking of making a fairy tale based book involving this particular species of ancient bird playing the role of Jack in my version of "Jack and the Beanstalk". Except instead of a beanstalk it would be a land bridge made of Cretaceous vegetation of some kind. I'll look it up later and find out what kind I'll use. So far, I made and published Little Red Flying Hood (loosely based on "Little Red Riding Hood") and now I am in development of another book based on "The Three Bears" (which will take place on the same continent and country as the Jeholornis or Shenzhouraptor's environment. Except this one will take place in ancient China in a universe where anthropomorphic animals roam the earth together and most of the predatory mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians chose to eat fish and invertebrates instead of other animals outside of the families of their preferred diet). The Bengal tigers who will be playing the role of the three bears (with two panda cubs playing Goldilocks' role) are born of Hindu descent and have moved to China, away from their home in India and prefer to hunt for fish from the Yangtze River instead of pigs, deer, and/or game birds. In fact, I even learned that people of Hindu religion in the Bengal region of India prefer to fish instead of cultivating meat from cows, because like all people of Hindu religion, they worship cows and other species of livestock that I can remember besides elephants, monkeys, snakes, vultures, and rats.
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JonaGold2000's avatar
JonaGold2000|Hobbyist Traditional Artist

Did he destroy the tree 0_0

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dFoidl's avatar
This is awesome - it makes it very easy to imagine this animal in life! Your gallery illustrates maniraptoran diversity perfectly. ;)
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jconway's avatar
I like -- this looks more finished and even your others, which is nice. The light on the leaves is particularly nicely done.

I don't like your blurry backgrounds so much. It's not so much that they are blurry, but they they have a completely different texture to the rest of the painting. I would either paint the blurry effect directly (rather than applying a filter), or find a way to unify the texture by applying a filter of some sort to the whole thing.
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MattMart's avatar
MattMart|Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks! Good point on the blurriness, I have a WIP where I'm attempting to paint it directly but I'm having a hard time getting it to look 'right'. I think in the future I might try adding more objects to the mid-background that have a texture in between blurred and textured and see if that helps any.
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jconway's avatar
It doesn't (experience speaking!).
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T-G-H's avatar
T-G-H|Hobbyist Artist
Nice waxwing influence on the coloration, it really fits the species and environment.
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MattMart's avatar
MattMart|Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks! I didn't want to make it too similar to an existing species, but I also wanted something mostly in browns just in case I have to paint over it in the future (melanosome studies and all that). Waxwing was definitely an inspiration.
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Qilong's avatar
Actual print of publication with diagnosis, specimen, etc. wins out for either name. Announcement of publication only works when the actual date of publication cannot be determined (in cases for works in the past), and almost never (so far) for dates of electronic intent (online) for publication.
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MattMart's avatar
MattMart|Hobbyist Digital Artist
"Announcement of publication only works when the actual date of publication cannot be determined (in cases for works in the past)"

Isn't that the case here? We have two names for likely the same taxon published within days of each other. Any information on which paper was available in print first is pertinent. The Shenzhouraptor paper contained only the month, not day, of publication.
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Qilong's avatar
Right, but the statute for exteneral dates referring to first release are done before the current edition ... I do not believe they apply to taxa formed under the current edition. For example, the proscribed date for one taxon is printed on the publication, while another taxon is referred to in a publicatiopn, but the date (to the day) is obscure, while another publication cites that name as being published or available at a specific date. This occurs with Epidendrosaurus (Naturwissenschaften cites the date of availability by the online version of the journal) and Scansoriopteryx (where the date was provided on a website for its initial availability -- which was preset prior to the first date the journal could be ordered).

With Jeholornis, the day is very secure, but with Shenzhouraptor, the date is fudgier and has to be applied through less explicit means, which means generalizing the date. In this case, no specific criteria (such as a day on the journal) is available, unless the editor can release it.
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MattMart's avatar
MattMart|Hobbyist Digital Artist
Reading the current version of the code online, I can't find anything in Article 21 about more secure dates (like day and date printed in the journal) being given priority over fuzzy dates (day date not specified in journal but discovered through other sources).

Article 21.7 says "If the date of publication is not specified in a work, the earliest day on which the work...is demonstrated to be in existence as a published work is to be adopted as the date of publication of the work."

It doesn't say what kind of
demonstration is necessary, but it also doesn't say that a primary source of date beats a secondary one. We have a press release accompanying the distribution of the Shenzhouraptor description. If a similar piece of evidence showed the Jeholornis description was available in print before the date in the journal itself, Jeholornis would be the clear winner. But, even though I know most journals become available a few days before the printed date, I don't know of any evidence for it in this case.

Depending on what the ICZN means be "demonstrated," Shenzouraptor seems to be the valid name (or, maybe would become the valid name if somebody published the above argument!).
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Tomozaurus's avatar
Tomozaurus|Student General Artist
Your pictures are always amazing.
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MattMart's avatar
MattMart|Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks!
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Tomozaurus's avatar
Tomozaurus|Student General Artist
No worries man.
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