A Love Story of Tetrapods set in the Late Devonian

After talking on the phone with my brother Evan this morning, it occurred to me that I might need explain a bit more about the artwork that I've been sharing recently.

I'm working on a comic book with Russell Hawley. It will be A Love Story of Tetrapods set in the Late Devonian. Our protagonist, Acanthostega, will largely be based on Gaining Ground by Jennifer Clack, and our antagonist has been cast as our, usually very cute, Tiktaalik (who has been beautifully popularized by friend Kalliopi Monoyios. I've been sharing a fair number of the illustrations that I've been doing as we go through our research. I've spent the last few months reading lots, crawling around in creek beds sketching the transitions at the edges of water, and keeping live newts in house as behavioral models for Acanthostega.

The sketch (https://walkaboutem.com/tiktaaliks-eye), is a character sketch I did as Russell and I are exploring our villain. We spent a few weeks discussing what the soft tissue anatomy in Late Devonian tetrapods might have looked like. As Russel said last month, "Modern amphibians, as well as many other, more advanced tetrapods, have a nictitating membrane, a translucent third eyelid that can protect the eye without obscuring vision (the lineage that culminated in Homo sapiens lost the nictitating membrane – what a pity! I want one…). Ichthyostega is close to the ancestors of modern amphibians, so it would have had the nictitating membrane." This is relevant to our story because we are using Saltwater Crocodiles as behavioral models for Tiktaalik, and I had observed in Darwin, Australia last December, that crocodile eyes looks opaque underwater, which really does look pretty creepy. Perfect really for our story's villain!

Our months of research are coming to an end, and our story is written. It's very exciting because we are starting to develop the storyboards. I'm not sure how much I'll keep sharing here, because I want everyone to been excited when we finally release the finished work. But we'll see…

In the meantime you can read more at:
Acanthostega: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acanthostega
Tiktaalik: http://tiktaalik.uchicago.edu/
Kalliopi Monoyios: http://www.kalliopimonoyios.com/
Russell Hawley: http://www.oceansofkansas.com/r_hawley.html
Gaining Ground by Jennifer Clack: http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&ved=0CDAQFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fpalaeo-electronica.org%2F2002_2%2Fbooks%2Fground.pdf&ei=pNp0T9TrIqPm2gWq1L3CDQ&usg=AFQjCNGkG7QZ0-Oio84DyV7runFjyumJmw

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