So what were we looking for? We judged the entries based on whether or not they delivered an interesting artistic style alongside that All Yesterdays inspired speculation we all love. The submissions below represent, to us, the best mixtures of style and imagination.
And so, without further ado.... the winners!
3RD PLACE WINNER: JESSICA PILHEDE
Here at LITC, we're all suckers for a bit of collage, and Jessica Pilhede's sparring troodonts deliver in spades. The simplicity of the image is charming, calling to mind a child's storybook while expressing an artistic style not often used in dinosaurs. While this submission is not quite as speculative as others, the uniqueness of the medium makes it stand out.
Jessica explains her reasoning thusly.
The idea for this is basically looking at the vast number of theropods with their enlarged toes and thinking, did ALL of them really use them for the same purpose (usually listed as hunting)? Especially when they vary so much otherwise? They always reminded me of the spurs and spikes of birds like roosters and pheasants and I wonder if some species didn't use them for interspecies conflict, like fighting over a female or territory or what have you. Not saying they would be used ONLY for that, but perhaps as an additional usage? I mean, many unique body parts in the animal kingdom can have multiple uses, just look at giraffe necks.
As for the dinosaurs themselves, they are meant to be troodonts in a cold climate - much of my references came from looking at photos of capercaillies and black grouses fighting over females in cold environments.Jessica will get a signed sketch from Asher, depicting any prehistoric creature she so desires.
2ND PLACE WINNER: MIKE KEESEY
"MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS"
Mike Keesey's Pop Art Dimetrodon presents a radically different vision of everybody's favorite mammal-like reptile (or, perhaps, reptile-like mammal.) Taking inspiration from Andy Warhol and, apparently, Gary Larsen, this piece is grotesque in all the best ways, suggesting an animal that looks believably ridiculous and strange. The negative space of the background and the subdued coloration really make the art pop.
Mike's thoughts on his piece follow.
Dimetrodon and its kin have often been described as "mammal-like reptiles", but in fact they are just as closely related to modern reptiles as we are (in terms of shared descent). Creatures like Dimetrodon, Moschops, Lystrosaurus, Cynognathus, Morganucodon, etc. are more properly termed "stem-mammals", meaning that they are not mammals, but are more closely related to mammals than to any other living organisms.
We can infer, in the absence of direct evidence, that all stem-mammals probably possessed any characteristics shared by us mammals and our closest living non-mammalian relatives, the sauropsids (turtles, tuataras, lizards [including snakes], crocodylians, and birds). But mammalian characteristics not shared by sauropsids are trickier. When did hair evolve? When did lactation evolve? We have a few clues but no definite answers.
In this piece, I have pushed fur back to an extremely early time – Dimetrodon is one of the furthest stem-mammals from Mammalia proper. While we know that a later stem-mammal, Estemmenosuchus, had glandular skin without any sign of fur, it is possible that fur evolved earlier and was simply lost or reduced in some lineages, as it has been in many mammalian lineages.
I have also posited parental feeding, but not, strictly speaking, lactation. Other lineages of tetrapod, including caecilians and pigeons, have evolved ways of feeding the young from foodstuffs produced by the mother. The mother Dimetrodon's sides are swollen with nutritious substances which seep out as her pups gobble it up. Is it milk? Sort of and sort of not.
Finally, I have scrupulously avoided any suggestion that these are in any way reptilian. They do retain some plesiomorphies evidenced in some reptiles and amphibians, such as a sprawling gait, belly scales, and acute color vision, but they lack the dry skin and derived scales of true reptiles. These are moist, glandular creatures, like amphibians and ourselves.Mike will be receiving a hand selected book of vintage dinosaur art from David Orr, our dread lord and master, himself.
1ST PLACE WINNER: ANDREW DUTT
Andrew Dutt's illustration of a bone dropping Dsungaripterus is a thing of beauty. It oozes with style and a simple, yet arresting composition. The graphic design pops beautifully, and the illustration rewards close examination. Not only that, the behavior posited seems not only reasonable, but obvious. It all adds up to an illustration that effortlessly communicates a bit of speculation, with very little explanation necessary.
Andrew has this to say about his work.
Dsungaripterus is usually thought of as a “shell-crusher”: its upturned beak tip would have been used to remove shellfish from sandy, muddy beaches and its knobbly, flat teeth at the back end of its jaws would have been ideal for crushing the shells and exoskeletons of its prey. However, Dsungaripterus remains are found in locations that were many kilometers inland at the time it lived, and carbon & oxygen isotope analysis of bones and teeth confirm that Dsungaripterus inhabited terrestrial environments as opposed to marine.
So what does a flying reptile with crushing jaws living in a terrestrial environment sustain itself with? Surely Dsungaripterus wouldn’t pass on small terrestrial vertebrates if it came across them, but it probably put those knobbly teeth and strong jaws (for a pterosaur) to good use. Its beak could have probed into carcasses and with its jaws it could have crushed bones to obtain nutritious bone marrow. If its bite wasn’t strong enough to shatter larger bones, it could have engaged in a behavior similar to the one practiced by today’s Bearded Vulture: fly high up over cliffs and rocky outcrops and drop the bone in order to smash it against the rocks below.
As for appearance, I depicted Dungaripterus with an erect mane of pycnofibers along its neck, yellow facial skin, and dark facial bristles forming a “beard”, all of which were inspired on Bearded and Egyptian Vultures. I also expanded the bony crest with keratinous tissue featuring black and white bands for intraspecific display and red gular skin for some extra pizzazz.
Andrew will receive a beautiful copy of Dinosaur Art from Marc, with sketches from both Marc and Niroot themselves!
Lets have a big hand to all of our entrants, and thank you so much for making this contest such a success! Keep drawing, folks, and may all your yesterdays be amazing.