Friday, 10 April 2020

'Tabulae mortuae' (Archives XI)

Or, in English, 'dead paintings'.

The Furaha project started with oil paintings without much forethought. The reason to decide to paint something was that I thought it would look nice. Well, that obviously resulted in some designs that with hindsight simply did not make sense. As I explained in the previous post, one design involved plants with enormous leaves. That idea is gone, and so the paintings that show them are no longer useful. Let's say they lived out their lives. I will show a few in this blog. Note that they are NOT typical of current paintings; they are just stuff found in the archives.


Click to enlarge; copyright Gert van Dijk
Here is one. It really needs a better separation of foreground and background, but never mind about that. The animal in question was called a 'Mesencephalon meditans'. That name tells you it was inspired by the human brain stem (as seen from the back). Those into neuroanatomy might recognise several brainstem details, such as the 'pons'. The text regarding this animal mentioned that it might look as if it was lost in thought, but the animal would be more likely to be lost in a more general sense. That's what you get if you leave off the cortex.        

I still like the overall shape and lines of the tree. But how would it respond to wind? Would it turn around so the stem could face the wind, and the sails would flap and flutter? 

Mind you, this painting was done in oils, and for The Book it would need a digital makeover. In some cases, I used the basic idea of an old painting but changed almost everything to produce a new one. This particular dead painting was in fact resurrected. Parts of the landscape survived, and so did a much modified 'Mesencephalon'. The tree, however, did not...

47 comments:

Anonymous said...

That critter gives me meerkat vibes, standing on the edge of its nest to keep watch for any predators.

Sigmund Nastrazzurro said...

Anonymous: It's probably the erect posture with dangling limbs that give that impression.

oh give me a home, where the kangaroos roam, where the wombats and wallabies play said...

It's a shame this image is no longer canon. It has an "old textbook illustration" feel reminescent of dinosaur books from the 50s and has quite a genre-throwback aesthetic to it.

Also is the little critter on the pic still canon to Furaha lore or has it been retconned out of existence? Like the name Mesencephalon, I like the idea of humans naming alien animals based on what they look like compared to things familiar to us. Maybe they're called Messies for short.

Would be nice to see more paintings with this style!

dave said...

the p

Sigmund Nastrazzurro said...

'No name': Intersting comment; it is similar to one I received before, also comparing the type to a 60's style of illustration. perhaps it is not surprising as I grew up with the works of Zdenek Burian and the like. However, the digital paintings have a somewhat different feeling, I think. I hope that the style is not seen as detracting from the work. I will show more 'tabulae mortuae' in due tme, and they will be in the same style. I have only one style... ;-)

Dave: ?

TheWingedScourge said...

I'd love to learn more about the "Mesencephalon" and how it lives! Judging by the painting, I would assume that, as Anon previously mentioned, that it would be some sort of analogue to a meerkat or prairie dog that's a small burrowing creature which rears up to keep watch for danger?

It seems to be alone in this pic, and with the mention that it's "lost" I would guess that it's a normally social species and this individual got separated from its group somehow?

Bob said...

Hello Sigmund,

Good to see the regular postings on your blog again. And how many times it has to be told to you? Forethought is for the faint of heart! Also nice to see you found some time to dive into your archives. A closer look at this plant and creature are intriguing as ever. The slightly humoristic remark about being lost does not go past me without curling my lips. How would life be easier without a cortex!🤪

The plant is even more intriguing. The futuristic shape assumes a close relationship with the wind. Btw is photosyntheses also the basis of plant life on Furaha? And about the digital makeover: Wouldn't it be nice to model this one in 3D to have a closer look at how it behaves in a flow of air?

Take care Sigmund. Looking forward to your coming blog posts.

Bob (the one that pairs with Antoinette)

Sigmund Nastrazzurro said...

TheWingedSource: Actually, I haven't though much about what M. meditans is or does... This painting, in revised form and with a revised M. meditans, made it to The Book, so the accompanying text does have something to tell about it. Here it is: "The snafe is agile and swift. It can dig as well as its swims and dives, and it also runs, climbs and jumps. It digests plants, tubers, mixomorphs, small animals and carrion, if need be. It does even grasp objects with its flexible forelimbs. In short, it is an non-specialised omnivore with free grasping forelimbs.
If theories concerning the evolution of intelligence of mankind are correct, this combination of factors should ensure the emergence of intelligence. Obviously, with only one example -mankind- it is difficult to be confident about such conclusions. The snafe does not support the validity of this idea. In fact, intelligence in the snafe’s case is more conspicuous by its absence than by its presence."

Bo(b): Welcome back. Yes, I do spend more time on Furaha now. As for the 3D effects: that's feasible, but modelling air flow? I'll need your programming skills...

Giorno Giovanna said...

How many legs does the "Snafe" have? Can't really see too well in the image...

Sigmund Nastrazzurro said...

Giorno Giavanna: six in all, of which two , the front ones, are non-motor limbs. They look therefore much like hexapods (and are, tecnically) but seem distantly related to 'normal' hexapods.

cooked steak said...

Are there any fast rusps on furaha? Is there a practical way to have a rusp like animal adapted for higher speeds or would they just trip over themselves because that body plan isn't suited for running?

Anonymous said...

what if snakes were like really short and fat. they would be like a potato with a face

Rabbit Smeerp said...

What is the equivalent of Furahan megafauna? Do hexapods occupy the "giant herbivore niches" like mammoths or sauropods did, or is it taken by another clade entirely?

Also, how many legs do the biggest Furahan hexapods have? Did they reduce their number of legs the bigger they got?

Sigmund Nastrazzurro said...

cooked steak: have a look: https://planetfuraha.blogspot.com/2017/12/run-rusp-run.html

rabbit smeerp: The two clades that produce very large land animals are hexapods and rusps. The largest hexapods still have six legs, and do fine with that number.

Jonathan said...

What are the details of the planet Furaha itself? Its orbit, sun, moons, gravity, atmosphere and geography?

Anonymous said...

Um, Jonathan, does your computer let you look at the Astronomy pages, or were there too many moving objects for your system? (it happens)

-Anthony.

Sigmund Nastrazzurro said...

Jonathan & Anthony: Anthony beat me to it...

Actually, there are many more planetary data, as I was helped with the design of the Solar system by Martyn Fogg, who at the time was working on a PhD regarding the formation of solar systems. The astronomy page mentions some data, The Book mentions many more, but beyond a certain point the numbers will become boring for most readers.

Jonathan said...

Unfortunately it doesn't seem to be working. The site seems to be really troublesome lately :/

ursadirus said...

The Furaha site mentioned a hippo-like creature called a "marshwallow", have you done any other work on it? A painting of it in its natural habitat perhaps?

Anonymous said...

to Jonathan,
site works when I visit it. when you visit the blog (to which this is a reply page), up at the top of the page, there's a link to the main site...link always works.

to Ursadirus,
Here's a whole lot of Marshwallow data and works: http://planetfuraha.blogspot.com/search/label/marshwallow

-Anthony.

Dicklodocus said...

Is the site under repair? The "walking hexapods" gifs aren't playing.

Anonymous said...

Did you click on the image to start the animation?

-Anthony.

ps: please watch your language

Sigmund Nastrazzurro said...

All: the main Furaha site has been transferred to another host. I simply copied all files to the new site, but somehow that doesn't mean that it all works again. I will have to spend (much) more time on it to see why that is and mend it. However, external circumstances mean that i do not have access to everything I need at present. Be patient...

Anthony: thanks for all the help; you've become an expert on Furahan matters, it seems!

crippledcrab said...

how are the spidrids, rusps and hexapods of furaha related? are they related to one another via a common land ancestor or did they colonize land independently?

a walrus with attitude said...

Do rusps lay eggs or give birth to live young?

Sigmund Nastrazzurro said...

crippledcrab: they do have a common ancestor, but their body schemes are so different that their las common ancestor was as far back genetically as the last common ancestor of Earth's vertebrates and arthropods.

walrus: that's unsettled yet...

margarette said...

Do you have a diagram of Furahan hexapod anatomy detailing their internal organ and skeletal systems? (Snaiad has an in-depth page of Snaiadi vertebrate anatomy here, wonder if you have something similar:)

https://canopy.uc.edu/bbcswebdav/users/gibsonic/Snaiad/sndanatomy.html

bike_for_seal said...

What are the flying hexapods on furaha like? i wonder if they occupy the same niches as earth birds do or if they have unusual anatomical quirks that open up unlikely niches for them.

Would a flying herbivore make sense? all fling animals today are omnivores, carnivores or frugivores, would grazers need digestive systems that would make flight difficult if not impossible? maybe some furaha flyers found a way around this limitation?

Anonymous said...

to Margarette,
Not sure the internal anatomy has been published online as yet.

to Bike For Seal,
Here are two groups of fliers: http://www.planetfuraha.nl/air/flyg.htm
www.planetfuraha.nl/air/seasoar.htm
(there was also a flightless four-winged critter a while back...adorable)


:)
um, geese and hoatzins are insulted by your exclusion of their diet (hoatzins eat leaves, geese eat grass)

-Anthony.

ratsputin said...

How prevalent is limb reduction in Furahan hexapods? Not like centaurism but like straight up limb loss like kiwi wings and whale hind legs.

Are there Furahan hexapods with only four limbs, two limbs, or no limbs at all like a snake?

Sigmund Nastrazzurro said...

margarette: i did one detailed internal anatomy painting showing cloakfish, and thought that that was enough...

Bike for seal: they are heavier than air, so streamlining and weightsaving must be there.
Anthony beat me to it: geese eat grass, which is odd, as grass is not easy to digest so it requires a big heavy gut. many birds eat fruits and seed. Flying insects and bats do the same.

Anthony : I wonder which one you meant; this one? https://planetfuraha.blogspot.com/2013/10/archives-viii.html

ratsputin: limb loss is not common, but limb modification certainly is.



Anonymous said...

what are the size ranges of rusps, are there like, enormous megaherbivore ones but also tiny little ones

Anonymous said...

To Mr. Nastrazzurro,
I'd forgotten about the Caecus...I meant this pair: http://planetfuraha.blogspot.com/2012/06/black-black-grass-of-home.html

To Anonymous,
I think they get to dog sized...not sure about smaller.

-Anthony Docimo.

oviparous donkey said...

Interesting stuff as always, it's always nice to see the extent of worldbuilding and scientific rationalization of every minute detail.

Been following this blog since the walking with hexapods entry that criticized the hexapods of Avatar and safe to say I'd learned quite a lot :) Perhaps I might even try making a speculative evolution project of my own, should time permit...

(Also: another little criticism of the Avatar anatomy that wasn't brought up in that post: the creatures breathe through spiracles in their chests, yet they...open their mouths to vocalize? Even though their mouth is solely a feeding organ? That is...weird.)

wheelchair bear said...

The creature in the painting is the perfect blend of somewhat gross-looking but also strangely cute and I love it so much. Perhaps we'll get to see more art of it in the future?

Sigmund Nastrazzurro said...

Anonymous 1: Just use the blog's search function to get an answer quickly.

Anthony: aha! Those ones. They amuse me too...

Oviparous monkey: Thank you. I wonder what we'll see in the next Avatar instalments. It will probably be the smae mixture of great designs and fantastic technical achievements mixed with a disregard for facts. They will probably say 'Who cares?', and indeed very few people will care.

Wheelchair: well, it's in The Book, and not even modified that much.

AFishWithHands said...

What are the top predators of Furaha like (the ones comparable to lions or tigers?) Are they all like the club-armed yellow beast in your profile pic?

Sigmund Nastrazzurro said...

AFishWithHands: at present these are indeed the top predators.

cookie said...

what is the biggest land predator on furaha?

Anonymous said...

Cookie,
purely terrestrial or amphibious, like kodiak bears & saltwater crocs?

I would wager that the absolute biggest predators haven't been found yet - Furaha is a planet, and planets are BIG - at least in public knowledge.

-anthony.

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eggward said...

ok but what's the biggest KNOWN land predator on furaha? one that might be analogous to a tyrannosaur?

also, how do sexes work among furahan creatures? are they hermaphrodites?

Anonymous said...

Eggward,
um, how did we jump from lions and tigers...to tyrannosaurs?
:)

(seriously, the biggest predators {full stop} *were* the ballonts and the tubesharks - all the other named predators were ones who relied more on their specializations than on their size)

also, *some* of the backboned organisms are hermaprodites (sequential, i think)

as for how it works...when two flightless critters love each other very much and are of species-appropriate rank/status and display structures...

Michael Jackson said...

Are there any bipedal hexapods on furaha? Ones that freed four limbs from locomotion instead of just two?

cookie said...

hmm there are large amphibious predators on furaha too? hmm, since elephant seals are the largest living carnivoran i guess they'd count.

Anonymous said...

Cookie,
if there are, they are in The Book - I know of none on the website. (google or explore through the blog)

Michael,
Yes, there are...scroll up. (why does nobody read earlier posts?)

Anonymous said...

would passive dragging skids like the groveback from expedition make sense? the book tried to justify it as "to help bear greater weight" and presumably it just deals with the abrasion by having the skid constantly grow like a rodent incisor