Dödös need röck döts

November 12, 2013

Dodo skull drawing MJW 2013

It’s a strange time of year for me. Teaching and SVP are both behind me, my tenure dossier is in (I’ll find out how that goes next April, probably), and for the first time in a while, I’m not shepherding any pressing manuscripts through the valley of potential rejection. Urgency has dissipated. Flights of fancy are very in right now.

Take this post. I was supposed to be writing about intervertebral cartilage thickness in sauropods, but I got distracted and drew this instead. I am going through one of my periodic bouts of fascination with dodos, inspired by the awesome poster by Biedlingmaier et al. at SVP. So here’s an attempt. It’s based on this photo from Arkive:

Arkive Dodo-skull

with some details filled in from this plate from Strickland and Melville (1848):

Strickland and Melville dodo skull

and, to be honest, a very generous helping of artistic license. I don’t know from bird skulls so I may have the basioccipital wired to the nasals or some other godawful assault on sanity. I did it for fun, not for science.

If you want dodo science, I have mixed great news. Crappily–and futilely–enough, Owen’s descriptive papers on the dodo are paywalled at Transactions of the Zoological Society of London. (Seriously, guys? After 140 years you still haven’t made your nut off those papers?) BUT you can get them for free from a couple of other places–see Sarah Werning’s comment below. And happily Strickland and Melville (1848) is available for free from the Internet Archive, and in a host of formats. I am sorely tempted to have a hardcopy printed through Lulu. For more on the dodo side of the Aves 3D project underway at the Claessens lab, of which the Biedlingmaier et al. poster is early fruit, check out the news stories here, here, and here, and keep your fingers firmly crossed for the coming year. I can say no more for now.

If, like me, you are just a dodo fanperson, these videos with Adam Savage make interesting viewing: originalsequel.

Röck döts inspired by a few hours of stippling, and copied and pasted, appropriately, from False Machine.


12 Responses to “Dödös need röck döts”

  1. Owen 1866 (dodo part 1): https://archive.org/details/cbarchive_120228_owen1866dodoparti1869

    Owen 1872 (dodo part 2): https://archive.org/details/cbarchive_120227_owen1872dodopartii9999

    Back issues of the Transactions of the Zoological Society of London, through 1915, at the Biodiversity Heritage Library: http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/bibliography/45493#/summary

  2. Matt Wedel Says:

    Many thanks for those links. I did search archive.org for dodo papers, but those didn’t come up, so I guess my archive fu is weak.

    Now I feel like the TZSL pages for those papers should have giant warnings saying, “Hey, no need to pay us for these, they’re already free elsewhere.” And I still think it’s stupid to ask people to pay through the nose for work that’s over a century old. But then I would think that, since I hold the upstream position that it is indefensible to ask people to pay through the nose for any scientific work at all.

  3. A recent frustration involved a reviewer comment that asked if Romer’s terminology was the same as the avian term. The Romer version of Osteology of the Reptiles is out of print, and has been for a while. Our library does not carry it, and I haven’t found a pdf version anywhere. Sometimes you can get it for less than $100 online, but not all the time. Sigh.

  4. Matt Wedel Says:

    I can help with that. Stand by for Google-Drive-ization.

  5. Mike Taylor Says:

    Have you abandoned Dropbox for Google Drive?

  6. […] That’s from the top of page 122. At the bottom of the same page is my one contribution to the book, which also appears as the cover art (yeah, nepotism, whatcha gonna do). There’s a story behind this. This guy–yes, male, dunno if he was intoxicated–was hit by a train and his head was sheared in half, with the somewhat fractured but mostly intact facial skeleton separated by a lot of missing bone from the occipital region. With no way to obtain the deceased guy’s permission to use his mortal remains in the book, Alison and Vicki didn’t feel comfortable including their photos, so I spent a weekend bashing out a technical drawing. That reawakened my interest in pen-and-ink work and led to the dödö pöst. […]

  7. […] an artist this ends up leading me to drawing it. And if sufficiently inspired I put lots of little döts on it. Stippling is time consuming, but I have fun with it. Get into a rhythm and it goes pretty […]

  8. […] in the Yorkshire Museum, which I saw at SVPCA back in September. If you’re a dodo-phile like me, you should consider supporting Leon Claessens’s, Kenneth Rijsdijk’s, and Hanneke […]

  9. […] For previous dödö-related musings, please see this pöst. […]

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