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Atopodentatus Feeding

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By Qilong   |   Watch
Published: February 11, 2014
Riding the "Atopodentatus" bandwagon. This speculates a marine iguana like habitus with a peculiar set of right/grey whale feeding behaviors, including the ploughing of long gouges into the sediment or harvest soft foods contained within, as well as manatee like snuffling of buried food (grasses, in their case). In the distance, ichthyosaurs.

For more on the crazy, check it out: qilong.wordpress.com/2014/02/0… and also phenomena.nationalgeographic.c…
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Comments26
anonymous's avatar
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DinoMarioZilla's avatar
DinoMarioZillaHobbyist General Artist
Oh man, that is a really exquisite style!
vasix's avatar
vasixHobbyist Digital Artist
Can I just say that I adore stippling?
Qilong's avatar
I do enjoy the technique myself. I just need to get better at it.
vasix's avatar
vasixHobbyist Digital Artist
Honestly, it's superb! I've only been doing it for three or so months and it is...it never fails to blow me away
Kazuma27's avatar
Kazuma27Hobbyist General Artist
Ah, the lovecraftian critter so exquisitely described in your blog ;)

Like that you covered the "vertical pseudo-mouth"; 
Qilong's avatar
It was the least I could do -- the thing was indecent!
electreel's avatar
Very impressive job!
Shouldn't the tail and the hind limbs be a little bit wider? Or are they highly flattened?
Qilong's avatar
Tail is shown in the fossil in side view and is very stiff. It is strongly rotated around onto its side in the fossil, so we don't get to see it in dorsal view. Hindlimbs are suggested to be more complete than they are in the fossil, as they are missing many tarsal elements that are likely there. They are somewhat turned in this as these animals weren't probably very dense and so are being used to try to keep the animal near the seafloor.
Kronosaurus82's avatar
Kronosaurus82Professional Artist
Are we really sure that's not a deformed fossil? :)
In any case, good job with the "puntinato" tecnique. I used to hate using it so much at art school that I decided I would never use it one more time in my life. :D ;)
Qilong's avatar
None of the rest of the specimen seems deformed. There's some twisting of the skull, but this shouldn't result in the downturned snout. It shouldn't also result in no apparent symphysis between premaxillae. What is there is likely what was preserved, split and all. It's something I wish we had CT for.
Kronosaurus82's avatar
Kronosaurus82Professional Artist
Understood. :)
Back then seashores were filled with quite odd creatures, so this one doesn't make an exception I think.
Qilong's avatar
With taxa like mixosaurs, Utatsusaurus, paleopleurosaurs, nothosaurs, placodonts, etc., I think this guy was a drop in the bucket. We just have a limited idea of the overall diversity due to unfamiliarity of many of these other taxa. Though the unusual facial anatomy of this one does kinda knock them all out.
Kronosaurus82's avatar
Kronosaurus82Professional Artist
Don't forget Tanystropheus! :)
We were so puzzled by that beast that we had to cut it from the script of "The Journey" (it was in the beginning of the first draft).
Qilong's avatar
Sometime, I will have to get around to tanystropheids. Sometimes.
Kronosaurus82's avatar
Kronosaurus82Professional Artist
What's your opinion about them? :)
Qilong's avatar
Good question! One I don't have an answer to.
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Hyrotrioskjan's avatar
HyrotrioskjanProfessional General Artist
Nice drawing :thumbsup: I love the feeding style you speculate for him =)



p.s. Maybe I interpreted the fossil wrong but isn't the forearm much shorter?
Qilong's avatar
The fore arm is broken. The fossil slab has a break down the middle that cuts through both forelimbs and part of the vertebrae and ribs. The two sides are not aligned when the break is closed by putting the two sections of slab together. This suggests there is more missing between the sides of the break. I think the forelimb's radius/ulna should be about the size of the fibula/tibia.
Hyrotrioskjan's avatar
HyrotrioskjanProfessional General Artist
Ah! Thanks for enlighten me!
Orionide5's avatar
Hmm, you're depicting it without an external harelip?
Qilong's avatar
That is correct!
Orionide5's avatar
Then what did it have the premaxillary teeth for?
Qilong's avatar
Depends. There are only a few preserved, and they are larger than the other teeth. They do not seem like they'd be useful as straining teeth, and with some recurvature might be better for rendering food rather than just being passive. If the premaxilla gap is false, the teeth would be pointing in their normal direction and thus medial to the anterior maxillary teeth and forming a small radial array right at the tip of the snout. This might imply a better jaw array to engage soft foods sucked in live, like jellies or whatever. The rostral hook with teeth might also be useful in digging into shells, with ammonites and belemnites being interesting food choices. I think we're only scratching the surface, and that facial split is getting in the way!
Krookodile0553's avatar
Has there been any reference in the Paper to vaulted Pallates?.... If so, Atopodentatus would fit a reptillian Walrus to a tee.
anonymous's avatar
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