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SciArt of the Day: Ducky Treat

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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© Craig Dylke


I’ve seen a lot of shades of blue in Craig Dylke’s artwork over the last few years – the powerful blues in this piece just make this moment of action, frozen in time leap out at the viewer. An admitted mosasaur-fan, Craig explores ancient oceans and forests in his 3D images, and here shows us a rare moment handled with a rare quiet artistry.

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A Rare Marine Treat by Craig Dylke

2012, 3D Digital

You can read more about this image and the research behind it here.

Gallery Blog


Traumador the Tyrannosaur – currently on hiatus, this family-friendly blog features the photo-manipulations, art and story of a diminutive t-rex in today’s world.

ART Evolved – the lively group paleo-art blog founded by Craig Dylke and Peter Bond.

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Every day in September, we’re bringing you new science-art of the day. How would these images be useful for science communication? STEAM education? Enticing people to learn more about science? Do they inspire you or frustrate you? Let us know below!

Glendon Mellow About the Author: Glendon Mellow is a fine artist, illustrator and tattoo designer working in oil and digital media based in Toronto, Canada. He tweets @FlyingTrilobite and is on Instagram. You can see Glendon's work-in-progress at The Flying Trilobite blog and portfolio at Follow on Twitter @symbiartic.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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  1. 1. David Marjanović 9:20 am 09/14/2012

    Beautiful. Too bad the dinosaur’s caudifemoralis muscles are way too small. In other words, the tail is way too thin at the base. It looks like a kangaroo’s, and it shouldn’t.

    Also, why does the mosasaur bite into a body part that consists almost entirely of bone?

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  2. 2. Glendon Mellow 11:06 am 09/14/2012

    Perhaps that is a tentative bite, David, to check if it’s a meal or not. That’s how I viewed the scene: the predator slowly floating up to the strange animal body in the water, silently to investigate.

    Craig Dylke tinkers a lot with his art. I’m not sure if the duckbill is the same model as these or not.

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  3. 3. 2:19 pm 09/14/2012


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  4. 4. Craig Dylke 10:48 pm 09/14/2012

    David- Thanks for the heads up on the tail… I won’t claim to be a hadrosaur expert (even if they are the animal I’ve by far found the most of as fossils :P). I’m much more a (self taught) student in taphonomy. I get my inspiration and muse from the stories trapped in the rock. I need experts like yourself to help me get the players in these stories right :P

    The reason he is going for the arm is that on the Alaskan hadrosaur this piece was inspired by, the only definate toothmarks that were found, and thus attributable to the Mosasaur, were on the ends of the arms, legs, and one rib. The authors took this to mean, supported by all we know of Mosasaur eating techniques and capabilities, that the Mosasaur had trouble tearing apart the carcass and went for bones not excessively covered in tissue its jaws could get a hold of to try and get more leverage.

    Mosasaur much like their living relatives snakes and monitor lizards mostly ate prey whole, and have excellently adapted jaws and teeth for this job. However that means they were no doubt poor at dismembering carcasses should they come across them.

    The idea is that this rather large Tylosaur has been around a while, and this is not his first Dinosaur. So like a pro he is going right for the best way to try and butcher his treat…

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  5. 5. Craig Dylke 10:51 pm 09/14/2012

    Although it has occurred to me the tail issue you point out is partially a point of view caused issue, and Glendon is correct that this is the same Corythosaur model I’ve used elsewhere.

    I had trouble orienting the Hadrosaur so you could see what it was, but yet not have it overshadow (in both metaphoric and literal lighting senses) the Mosasaur.

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  6. 6. Glendon Mellow 4:33 am 09/15/2012

    Thanks for the explanations Craig! Fascinating stuff. I love that this scene is related to actual fossils.

    Link to this

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