A little proto-avian in the morning

Just sharing this little sketch. I’ve started using a Strathmore watercolor postcard pad as a watercolor sketchbook, since I’ve been unable to find a decent pocket-sized one elsewhere. So this is only 4 x 6″.

Confusciusornis Sketch

Confuciusornis Sketch

Confuciusornis is one of the most common fossils we have. Literally hundreds of fully intact, which means we know a bit more about it than many other early birds. It lived during the early Cretaceous, and had a toothless beak and a fused (pygostyle) tail, which is what allows birds to flex and flare their tail feathers. It couldn’t lift its wings above its back, and that coupled with its wing-claws indicates that it was more of a climb-then-glide sort of bird. Still, pretty neat how close it was considering it evolved to this state 125 million years ago.

This is just a quick sketch, so not wholly accurate! For one, there’s no indication that they had tertiary feathers, or any on their upper arms… I’ll have to do another Confuciusornis soon, I really like the species. The tree it’s sitting on is period-accurate as well, but I can’t for the life of me recall what it’s named.

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