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Combills by thomastapir Combills by thomastapir
One take on a loosely allied group of creatures I'm thinking of as "fenestrated filter feeders." The Combills lead a flamingo- or Pterodaustro-like lifestyle, feeding on planktonic organic material. With mandibles in the closed position, they rake their bills through the water, collecting food on their sticky, ridged sieve plates. Opening their jaws, the "sieve" is run through a muscular contracile sphincter on the upper mandible which strains off the nutrients and absorbs them directly into a predigestive mucous membrane. The guy on the middle right might be the one exception; I was thinking that his food may be strained down (rather than up) and flow into an expandable throat pouch, more like a pelican.

No eyes on these guys...Ever since reading Expedition long, LOOONG ago, I've always felt that two of the most "alien"-looking features, at least for alien heads, are lack of eyes and unusual mandibles. Though I realize eyes are an overwhelming evolutionary advantage (and thus likelihood) in terms of natural selection, I still automatically fall back on eyeless creatures when I create aliens.

For some REALLY cool and alien-looking mandibles, check out Spiralfish's creatures, especially ([link]) and ([link]) (Go Helicoprion!!). I've been working on these jaw designs for a while, but I suspect her recent pieces influenced how I ultimately rendered them.
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:iconcharanty:
Charanty Featured By Owner May 30, 2011
Totally awesome!
PS
About the links: could you be so kind and explain how second one's (helicoprion for the win!) jaws work?
I broke my brain trying to imagine it.
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2011
Man, I probably shouldn't speak for another artist, but it LOOKS to me like the creature grasps its prey with its tongue and/or traps it in the upwardly-folding clamshell jaws, where it is then dismembered by the toothy "jaw wheel" and fed into the animal's body. I guess my question would be whether that wheel freely rotates through a full 360+ range of motion or whether it is more limited, perhaps sort of "sawing" back and forth.
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:iconcharanty:
Charanty Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2011
Hmmm...I also thought that this "jaw wheel" should move somehow but how it doesn't hurt the creature?
Or you think there can be a sort of space between "jaw wheel" and an upper part.
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2011
You know, I'm really not sure...It's a good question. I'd try asking the artist but she doesn't allow comments on her work! I guess you could try dropping her a note...Actually she wrote me once regarding one of my own Helicoprion-derived creatures, but the conversation didn't really go any further than that.
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:iconcharanty:
Charanty Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2011
I'll try. This "jaw wheel" is too interesting just to push it aside.
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:iconplatypus12:
platypus12 Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2010
What do these creatures eat?
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2010
Something like plankton, I think!
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:iconplatypus12:
platypus12 Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2010
I see… These are very fascinating creatures by the way! :nod:
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2010
Thanks very much, I'm happy you like them! :)
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:iconplatypus12:
platypus12 Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2010
You're welcome! :D
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:iconbensen-daniel:
bensen-daniel Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2009
I never saw these before. Very cool!
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2009
Thank you, I'm glad you like them! :)
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:iconsphenacodon:
Sphenacodon Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2008
Ah, but Expedition worked on the principle of subverting every biological feature we take for granted, resulting in original, creative, weird, even beautiful animals that nevertheless violate Occam's Razor. Eyes are just too valuable not to have, methinks.

Maybe the combills live in caves? Or evolved on a lightless world?
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2008
Perhaps! How about a planet where life was forced below ground by high radiation levels on the surface (i.e. increase in stellar luminosity)? I always thought that would be a cool idea. But then, you know me and my high-rad environments...
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:iconsphenacodon:
Sphenacodon Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2008
That is cool. A whole planet of subterranean cave-dwellers - I think it's the first time I hear of such a concept.
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:iconrodlox:
Rodlox Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2008
'What if the Moon didn't exist' briefly touched on the idea.....in the chapter on Granstar (the sun is bigger), it suggested that the first terrestrial creatures would leave the sea by burrowing, not by crawling.
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:iconcannonbolt11:
cannonbolt11 Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2008
cool
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:iconsaxophlutist:
Saxophlutist Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2008  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Gotta love that fenestration! Good job on these by the way! :+fav:!
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2008
Thanks very much! :wave:
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:icondsil:
DSil Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2008  Student General Artist
Can the top dude open his jaw all the way?
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2008
He can open it to the point where the little flat boss on top of the sieve plate lodges flush with the upper surface of the top mandible....If that makes sense!
: P
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:iconm0ai:
M0AI Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2008  Professional Digital Artist
Great critter idea, Mr. Tapir. The bottom one is my favorite, followed by middle left. I find their shapes to be the most attractive.
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2008
Thanks very much! Thank you also for the faves.
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:iconarcticwinddragon:
ArcticWindDragon Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2008
I like the bottom most one
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:iconrodlox:
Rodlox Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2008
the topmost one, looks like it has the body of a giant eel, a snake, or an extinct whale.

very very cool critters.
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2008
Thanks so much!
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:iconrodlox:
Rodlox Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2008
welcome much.
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:iconwhalewithlegs:
whalewithlegs Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2008
in fact, i think these are going to be the final impetus in pushing me over into obsessively download every strange creature picture of yours. ha!
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2008
...Okay, that was an even more flattering compliment! :D
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:iconwhalewithlegs:
whalewithlegs Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2008
oh man, these are really awesome. I love the concept! I totally thought "Spiralfish" after a minute of looking at them too, but they're very different! These make me want to go design more alternate jaws!
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2008
Thanks so much! I'd love to see you further explore alternate jaw concepts--I was really impressed with your Snaiad designs after the last Nemo Ramjet update.

Maybe you could try a zipper to let out the internal organs. ;P
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:iconwhalewithlegs:
whalewithlegs Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2008
hahahah* .... I'll do it!
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