Wednesday, January 21, 2009

HMNH and Lanks

Originally uploaded by

Pencil and watercolor. Click the picture to see the larger version.
Just a bit of fun inspired by my archive binge of the wonderful Tetrapod Zoology blog. The Lank is an animal featured in Dougal Dixon's The New Dinosaurs. It a "speculative biology" text (for those who don't read enough sci-fi: yes, that is an actual sci-fi subgenre) that, conceptually, *does* look rather silly today (the similarly-themed Specworld pretty much owns it). But the illustrations are very nice and it's one of the books that got me interested in science fiction illustration back in Middle School.
That said, I haven't read it in a while. As I recall, the Lank is the second most anatomically improbable animal in the book. Your challenge now is to guess what extinct group of animals the Lank is descended from.
I'll give you a hint: look closely at her forelimbs.
1.19.08 - HMNH Sheep
Had kind of an interesting visit to the Harvard Museum of Natural History the other day. I went with my cousin, who is an architect. We wound up seeing the entire museum. I never realised the Peabody museum was so huge. MCZ has a very nice temporary exhibit about color in nature, and the glass sea creatures are still on display for another month (I think). Even though we had a whirlwind tour, I was able to do a few quick sketches.
About the only disappointment was this: the second floor of the hall of birds and mammals was closed. No bird studies for me.


Zachary said...

I used to love "The New Dinosaurs" as a kid, but as I grew older and learned more about paleontology, it became something of an abomination. The Lank is among my most hated creations. Seems like Dixon was content to simply pick a modern animal and shoehorn an improbable prehistoric reptile into its niche. The Lank is, somehow, a pterosaur.

If the words "Dougal Dixon" appear anywhere on the front of a book, I pretty much consider it a warning label now.

Trish said...

"The Lank is, somehow, a pterosaur."

And with that, Zachary, you win the No-Prize!
His critique of New Dinosaurs struck me as a tad harsh - but then again, it's been a long time since I last read it. Perhaps it's time to revisit it (after I'm done with the DCAU and a few other things), and see what looks silly today... and what looks eerily prescient.