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About Digital Art / Hobbyist Dylan Bajda22/Male/United States Recent Activity
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Future Zoo: The (Honorary) King of Beasts by Sheather888 Future Zoo: The (Honorary) King of Beasts :iconsheather888:Sheather888 127 25 Future Zoo: The Exhibition Tiger by Sheather888 Future Zoo: The Exhibition Tiger :iconsheather888:Sheather888 316 54 Death by a Billion Stings by Sheather888 Death by a Billion Stings :iconsheather888:Sheather888 104 7 The World of Oxymor by Sheather888 The World of Oxymor :iconsheather888:Sheather888 168 23 Dressed for Success by Sheather888 Dressed for Success :iconsheather888:Sheather888 55 3 Hindu Aliens by Sheather888 Hindu Aliens :iconsheather888:Sheather888 65 3 Gustavian Sea Life by Sheather888 Gustavian Sea Life :iconsheather888:Sheather888 110 3 The Lemuroo by Sheather888 The Lemuroo :iconsheather888:Sheather888 123 8 Mother Mirothere by Sheather888 Mother Mirothere :iconsheather888:Sheather888 134 8 Marsupial Panther by Sheather888 Marsupial Panther :iconsheather888:Sheather888 159 10 Toothless by Sheather888 Toothless :iconsheather888:Sheather888 30 2 Life of the Ultimocene Rainforest by Sheather888 Life of the Ultimocene Rainforest :iconsheather888:Sheather888 127 11 The Dayflight Bird by Sheather888 The Dayflight Bird :iconsheather888:Sheather888 187 17 The Seamingo by Sheather888 The Seamingo :iconsheather888:Sheather888 114 4 Permian Food Chain by Sheather888 Permian Food Chain :iconsheather888:Sheather888 161 10 Wounded in Winter by Sheather888 Wounded in Winter :iconsheather888:Sheather888 118 3

Favourites

Cute fluffy parasite by Preradkor Cute fluffy parasite :iconpreradkor:Preradkor 57 32 La Amarga Formation stegosaur by Lucas-Attwell La Amarga Formation stegosaur :iconlucas-attwell:Lucas-Attwell 175 20 The Age of Mammals by TrollMans The Age of Mammals :icontrollmans:TrollMans 117 5 Coconut woodpecker (Cocopicus marinus) by AlexSone Coconut woodpecker (Cocopicus marinus) :iconalexsone:AlexSone 49 7 Sabre-toothed shrew (Smilosorex venator) by AlexSone Sabre-toothed shrew (Smilosorex venator) :iconalexsone:AlexSone 65 7 Far From Home by Eurwentala Far From Home :iconeurwentala:Eurwentala 275 44 Gods of Salt by Concavenator Gods of Salt :iconconcavenator:Concavenator 33 22 Deer (color practice) by Lucas-Attwell Deer (color practice) :iconlucas-attwell:Lucas-Attwell 82 8 Messelrallen am Ufer by Stolpergeist Messelrallen am Ufer :iconstolpergeist:Stolpergeist 172 9 Stingray turtle by electreel Stingray turtle :iconelectreel:electreel 117 12 Hathor's galeacorn by electreel Hathor's galeacorn :iconelectreel:electreel 139 25 Pterodaustro by Lucas-Attwell Pterodaustro :iconlucas-attwell:Lucas-Attwell 196 6 Lessemsaurus by Lucas-Attwell Lessemsaurus :iconlucas-attwell:Lucas-Attwell 212 21 Whale Killer by TrollMans Whale Killer :icontrollmans:TrollMans 133 17 Living on the Edge, Gerrothorax edition by Dragonthunders Living on the Edge, Gerrothorax edition :icondragonthunders:Dragonthunders 141 57 Flutter Newt by Kiabugboy Flutter Newt :iconkiabugboy:Kiabugboy 206 4

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Future Zoo: The (Honorary) King of Beasts
The mighty African lion is the undisputed king of beasts - though today, his title is more honorary than earned. Like his cousin the tiger, he has outgrown his ancestors, though his most dramatic attribute is his oversized mane - big, black, beautiful... and now so large and extensive that it covers most of his body, running down his belly to his hind legs and down his back almost to his tail, turning him into a veritable caricature of his own species. It impedes his vision and limits his time outdoors to brief excursions when the temperature is under eighty degrees, lest he fatally overheat. Centuries of prepared meals have shrunk his jaws and unintentional selection toward only the most docile, easygoing, easily bred lions have dulled his instincts, and he now does little more than lay around and show off his majestic form. Visitors awe at his regal pose and tremble when he roars - one of the few things he can still do, albeit for no practical purpose except to make himself feel important. He nor his ancestors have had to defend their territory for over five hundred years.

If he had to kill his own zebra on the sweltering savannah, he would starve in short order - if he didn't die of heatstroke far sooner. Not even a baby rabbit hopping through his enclosure catches his interests - it is a warm day, almost 80 degrees, and it takes all his effort just to lay motionless. Even the lionesses of his type are now almost as lethargic as himself.

He is perfectly, exquisitely adapted to life in the lion paddock at the Zoo, shaped by centuries of fine-tuned selection to produce a perfect specialist. There has never been a more perfectly evolved zoo lion. He does not balk at his confinement, he does not try to eat the staff, he is very docile with his mates and does not harm his offspring. He eagerly gobbles up his lion kibble, and is perfectly behaved for his check ups with the veterinarian. He is truly at the peak of fitness, flawlessly molded to thrive in this particular environment.

And nowhere else.
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Future Zoo: The Exhibition Tiger
The exhibition tiger, with an ancestral Bengal tiger for scale. Enormous, sedentary, and with hugely exaggerated markings, it thrives in captivity - but can no longer survive in the wild. Its natural habitat is no longer the jungle any more than yours is.

~~~


It is the year 2500 somewhere on planet Earth in a city like can be found anywhere. The sky above is clear and blue, the morning sun shining through a forest of tall, shimmering towers where the people make their homes. It is shaping up to be a sunny spring day.

It is the perfect kind of day to visit the city Zoo.

The Zoo is an oasis in the urban jungle, laid out just like nature used to be, with trees, plants and water features, but of course much improved. Like all things in the modern world, it has been selected to perfection by the hands of humanity: it lacks the pests and parasites, diseases and danger of old nature, things that we as a society have heroically cleansed from existence. No, this nature is pristine, clean and beautiful. It is smaller than nature and improved with clean pathways upon which to travel, and of course, each and every creature has been collected and grouped closely so that, without much unnecessary travel at all, visitors can observe whole ecosystems from all the major habitats of the Earth - or at least, the parts that seemed to matter at the time the Zoo was first established. Only the most elegant and attractive animals were preserved here to roam in expansive green environments that complement their forms which, like their environments, have been greatly improved upon from their comparatively plain ancestors that, very long ago, lived in the old nature. But this highly skewed preservation bias which favored the large and the beautiful without regard to maintaining entire ecosystems and all of their components, including the "lowly" and "undesirable", had unforeseen consequences.

Take, for example, the tiger. At the Zoo, a family of tigers can always be readily observed. They are some of the most breathtaking of all creatures today just as much as five hundred years ago - elegant big cats with heavy builds and the most astonishing striped coats. But the tiger of today is not the tiger you would recognize. At the Zoo, the tigers you'll find now are much larger than the old tigers seen in the first zoos. Their pelts are much more luxurious and their temperaments are far calmer - they lie comfortably in the sun all through the day, displaying their beauty to all visitors, and show no stress at their confinement - they have fully adapted to the unique environment provided by the Zoo with a very low energy level and curbed hunting instincts. Pacing, a normal coping mechanism for the more high strung old-fashioned tiger in captivity, was seen as neurotic and undesirable by zoo visitors, so it was selectively bred away by only breeding together those calmer tigers which did it the least. The niche of the tiger today is to sit around and look good, and they thrive doing so. It is an unfortunate side effect, however, that sitting around is now all they can really do. Their teeth are small, their jaws weak, and their bodies too bulky to let them hunt effectively even if they retained any drive to so so. It took so long for there to again be made space for tigers to return to their natural habitat that now that such environments are again available, the modern exhibition tiger - the result of centuries of selection toward its ancestors which thrived in small enclosures, pleased visitors and were docile to their caretakers - has become a new specialist zoo-dweller, utterly unable to survive anywhere else.


~~~

The preservation of wildlife in zoos is a short term measure, an ark to ride through bad times of environmental destruction. But if the stay on the ark is prolonged, the ark becomes home, and those aboard may find themselves unable to disembark. The moment a wild animal is no longer under natural selective pressures, it begins to lose its wildness. Adaptations well-suited to hunting in the jungle are often detrimental in captivity. Zoos might be able to breed a tiger which looks like we think a tiger should - in theory - but captive conditions cannot replicate the myriad of pressures acting upon a wild population, and over time, change is inevitable. Tigers do well in captivity, but as the generations go by in human care, we will at some point pass the precipice where they have changed so significantly to be unsuited to survive in the wild. Will it take five hundred years, or two hundred, or maybe just a few decades? It's really not easy to say. But the process has begun. Is a tiger still a tiger if it cannot hunt, and it exists just for show - or has it become something new?

To truly preserve wildlife requires the protection of the entire ecosystem, for life doesn't exist in a vacuum - it is all a product of its environment. If we pick and choose only our favorite creatures to last into the future in our changing world, this may very well be the future for many more animals.
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Death by a Billion Stings
Serina is home to other animals besides birds. Though mainly introduced to produce a stable ecosystem for the canaries to flourish, enough time has now passed for fishes and insects to have also evolved into remarkable new forms.

Here, in the northern tropical forests of Serina, 250 million years hence, a mother circuagodont (a terrestrial descendant of ray-finned fishes that has evolved a highly specialized projecting jaw resembling - and operating like - a set of tree trimmers) is unable to save her offspring from an ambush by a most heinous threat: a swarm of ravenous, carnivorous billion-stinger ants. Unlike most ants, the billion-stingers have no permanent nest, rather they are constantly on the move and behave like a single superorganism, living in mobile nests made of their own bodies, carried by specialized carrier ants and protecting the queens and larvae, while the whole swarm is led by vicious venomous warriors that kill anything in their path.

For more information see the Serina website! sites.google.com/site/worldofs…
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sites.google.com/site/worldofs…

Serina is an ongoing spec evo project exploring the evolution of the canary bird on a terraformed planet lacking in other land vertebrates, starting in the first few thousand years and venturing deep into the future. There is a lot of content that has never been featured here - check it out!

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Sheather888
Dylan Bajda
Artist | Hobbyist | Digital Art
United States
Speculative biologist, fascinated by evolution and the natural world. I am a concept artist, and the idea behind my art is always more important than the pictures themselves.

I do freelance illustration for just about anything animal-related be it spec evo art, pet portraits or science fiction illustration. I can also draw maps. Email me at Sheatherius@gmail.com for commission inquiries.

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:iconaltabetstudios:
AltabetStudios Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
you have a really cool gallery! I love your creature designs and you have very interesting ideas! keep up the great work!
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:iconsambiswas95:
SamBiswas95 Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2018  Hobbyist
Are you still open for commission? If so do you have any info I could look into? 
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:iconsheather888:
Sheather888 Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yes I am. I do not have a commission page at the moment but normally I ask $20 per creature and a little bit more if you want a detailed backdrop or environment. Note me for more information.
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:iconraptorwolfss:
raptorwolfss Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2018
is the Terra Metropolis project dead ?

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:iconadampanak:
adampanak Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Welcome to our group :iconbig-animal-farm:

:happybounce: :happybounce: :happybounce: :happybounce:

adampanak Founder Hug
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:iconuzag:
Uzag Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2018

Such an exciting gallery!
While I do enjoy all your creations, such as the fun prehistoric park ideas, I absolutely love your "speculative evolution" art. There's so many creative concepts, all kept within a reasonably realistic margin. Your detailed, realistic style then brings it all to life! Another thing that makes them feel alive is how you rarely just plain show off a design but instead have the animals do something, interacting with each other or their environment.

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:iconsheather888:
Sheather888 Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you for the kind words, it means a lot!
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:iconmremilable:
MREMILABLE Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Happy birthday
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:icondylan613:
dylan613 Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2018  Student Artist
Happy birthday! :)
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:iconcamthezoologist:
CamtheZoologist Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2018  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
happy bday to you and all of your amazing creatures!
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