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Polarays by thomastapir Polarays by thomastapir
A few possibilities for arctic Tetrays. These would be from a period another 25-50 million years after the Terrestray and Cursoray, when the Earth has been plunged into another ice age (there were no polar caps at all during the early Tetray era). I'm going to be all over the place with time frame on these creatures, so I'll try to keep them roughly in chronological order within their gallery folder.

The guy on the bottom, at least, probably evolved from a former flier of the type that produced the Cursoray. The "forward-swept canard wing" variant on the right was an attempt to capture the body form I saw in the dream that started me on the whole Tetray kick. The top left could be another flightless former flier, the Tetray answer to a "super penguin," though to me it could as easily be a kind of giant endothermic sea turtle analog evolved from a dry-land quadrupedal form. That would make for an interesting and circuitious sea-to-land-to-sea transition.

There's quite a bit of variance in anatomy here because I'm still experimenting with how to handle Tetray morphology. These guys are obviously from a period when complex musculature has been refined to the point where their limbs are closely converging on those of the extinct tetrapods. They bear heavy insulating fat deposits, and are fully endothermic.

I've decided that despite their distinctive manta-like cephalic lobes, the Tetrays are NOT descended from true manta rays, but rather from relatives in the Myliobatiformes (either the eagle rays or cownose rays) that eventually converged on mantas in body design. This is a cheap trick allowing me to retain the possibility of stringers, which manta rays lack.

I'm still trying to calibrate my monitor, so let me know if these look too dark or too contrast-y and I'll be your best friend forever, or at least until the end of recess.
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:iconartworkbymose:
What are u drawing these with?
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:iconmaster-of-the-boot:
Master-of-the-Boot Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
This really is a fascinating concept. Take something like a ray and transform it into something unrecognizable.
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:iconplatypus12:
platypus12 Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2010
So is the bottom one a biped?
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2010
Let's seeeeee....Yeah, I guess it is! I didn't picture it spending much time on land, though, or using its legs very effectively. :)
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:iconfractalxavier91:
fractalxavier91 Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2009
I notice no-one else has mentioned them, what about the claws? How does a cartilaginous animal with marine ancestry go about evolving hard structures like claws? Are they maybe connected to the stinger in some way?
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2009
They are actually evolved from the denticles in the skin, mimicking the process that led to the development of teeth.
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:iconfractalxavier91:
fractalxavier91 Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2009
Interesting. See, I don't think I would have come up with that. Unless I were the one designing them.
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:icondsil:
DSil Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2009  Student General Artist
Fantastic designs, very insectoid. Good ol' canard wings! :)
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2009
I can't get enough of them!
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:iconrob-cavanna:
Rob-Cavanna Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2008
These guys are all lots of fun, Tom! For some reason, I look at them and imagine what a great biomorphic launching point they would make for vehicle or mech designs.

As for the screen callibration, they do seem a bit dark and contrasty to my eye, but then it is hard to judge without seeing you original sketches. :/
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2008
Thank you! Hah, there's usually quite a bit of overlap between my mech and creature designs--I think because my machines tend to be so organic and my organisms often "mechanical." :)

Thanks for the feedback on calibration...What's bugging me is that I'm pretty happy with the brightness/contrast balance on my monitor as I've got it set now, but I know it doesn't accurately reflect what things look like in their analog form. I've tried compensating for it by just going a little lighter when I tweak things for online display...Not a perfect solution, but it'll do for the moment. : /
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:icondoodlebotbop:
Doodlebotbop Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
I think the contrast looks great! :3 Awesome job as always.
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2008
Thank you! :)
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:iconsaxophlutist:
Saxophlutist Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2008  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Another neat work in this series! It's neat to see some non-tetrapod land vertebrates!
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:iconsphenacodon:
Sphenacodon Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2008
Whee! I can see the eagle ray influence in those guys. The bug guy does have a leatherback vibe to him, and the limbs are convincing (good to see you're settling on a manus-and-pes design for the tetrays). Contrast is fine, IMO.

The guy on the right really intrigues me - how does he get around? Where does he live?

Actually, I can see all three of these being somewhat aquatic or otherwise tied to water (like, say, seabirds). What happened to the fully terrestrial guys - did they go extinct?

Those manta lobes on the mouth seem to be in vogue, do they still serve as pincers?

Oh, and I just understood that "stringers" meant "stingers" (right?) And I was berating myself for not knowing what a stringer is. Will we be seeing ray-porcupines? Ray-thyreophorans?
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2008
...? Oh, BIG guy...Gotcha. Glad to hear the contrast looks good.

I'm not sure about that guy yet, I may do more with him! See my rsponse to Commander Salamander for some thoughts on how he might work.

I pictured all of these as amphibious. The terrestrial forms are still around, in the temperate regions to the south...They've diversified into many other forms that I haven't gotten to yet.

The cephalic lobes serve almost as trunk-like appendages in these guys--I still need to work on some of the variants with more specialized mandibles.

D'oh!--yes, stingers. "Stingarees," as I guess they are technically called in rays. Hah, I hadn't thought of anything quite so imaginative as a ray-porcupine! :lol: May be rays with scorpion-like tails, though, and yes, definitely ankylosaur and stegosaur analogs.
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:iconsphenacodon:
Sphenacodon Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2008
Gyarrgh, typo! :doh:

Ah, okay. Still, it looks a tad counterintuitive for a swimmer, unless it's doing something really specialized.

More ray goodness to look forward to!

I see. I can imagine them using them to grub around in sediment, like walruses and - yes - rays. Can't see them of much use in fish capture though, unless they're covered with viciously hooked denticles to latch onto fish like velcro... (dark imagery)

I thought stingarees were small stingrays with short tails? Probably used for both then. Scorpion rays would be very impressive, and I still say that a porcuray would be awesome. Oh, and I think bramble sharks are on the way to becoming marine thyreophorans, they could be a good thing to converge on in this case.
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:iconcommander-salamander:
commander-salamander Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
That big guy at the top has little bittle toesys! As always I'm impressed!
With the guy on the top right, is his front legs, well legs? Because if it is I have always been interested in creatures with the forelegs being the main method of moving about.
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2008
I'm not sure what's going on there! He swims with his hind "flippers" or paddles or whatever you'd call them, I know that much. I have NO idea what the forelmbs do when he's underwater (maybe they act as mantis-like raptorial appendages to snap at prey?)...It seems like they would be really counter-hydrodynamic. Maybe they fold against the body but turn out at the wrist and have little paddles on the end for steering--pretty much any back-heavy design like that that moves through a fluid medium needs some kind of canard control surfaces for stability, which is why planes with aft wings ALWAYS have them. I can also see him sort of dragging himself around on his front limbs when he's out of the water, like he kind of scoots around on his tail.

They get worms, sometimes. :|

Thank you, I'm glad you like them! :hug:
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:iconcommander-salamander:
commander-salamander Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
Or impacted anal glands.

Mantis shrimp have a snappy thing going on. On typing this I realise that mantis shrimp don't go swooping around chasing after their dinners, they do a lunge and grab type thing.
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2008
You know, I don't think I've ever actually seen footage of a mantis shrimp attacking its prey...I picture them as ambush predators, I guess, like their terrestrial namesakes..?
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:iconcommander-salamander:
commander-salamander Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
Yeah they are ambushers. The funny thing is that they move so fast that they aren't easy to film unless you have super high speed stuff. So it would be hard to see footage of them hunting. More along the lines of: mantis shrimp without fish. Then mantis fish with fish.
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2008
NICE...I used to have a tarantula, and it was a very similar effect. Pretty impressive.
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:iconcommander-salamander:
commander-salamander Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
Barracuda do something similar. You're swimming along happy as Larry a boom! 'Cuda takes away your feet!
When I'm out in the water I don't worry about sharks ('cos I look behind me all the time, just in case...) I worry about barracuda instead.
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2008
:omg: Are barracuda really that aggressive? Seriously?? I always thought that was kind of a myth--you know, like the "Vicious Moray Eel."
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(1 Reply)
:iconwhalewithlegs:
whalewithlegs Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2008
buhhhh ...... another one of your pieces that I want to extra favorite somehow. These creatures have really diversified, but they all retain that palpable aura of strangeness that accompanies almost familiar aliens. I really really love the gill slits and the faces.

comically enough, i think you're starting (or i'm noticing) a distinctive wing-mantis-arm that pervades your work :)

ah, seeing creatures in dreams is such an awesome experience ... i wish that I could put some of the fascination felt in dreams into the actual animal rendering myself, but when I wake up it always seems that their features are simplified, rounded, or too fluid to tack down into one form.
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2008
Oh man, tell me about it! And these creatures...They were freakin' amazing. One of them was this bizarre Con Rit -style marine centipede cryptid evolved from a primitive whale; the other was a long-necked manta analog evolved from a pliosaur (but retaining its delta-wing body shape). The whale one had the blade-like, forward-swept wings at the back of the body. But it wasn't really the body designs; it was the sense of REALITY to these things...I mean, they had that rubbery gray hide like real manta rays, little nicks and scratches and scars...I could reach out and touch them. (The fact that they were in a giant indoor aquarium similar to Monterey Bay was the icing on top of the cake.) Then I woke up--and I couldn't draw them. It was devastating, heartbreaking. But I couldn't get the idea out of my mind, and I came up with the first couple of Tetrays while I was out jogging a couple of hours later.

The mantis arm goes WAAAAAY back! :lol: It is more prevalent at some times than others, but yeah, I think I've been drifting back into a mantis phase lately. :)

Thanks so much for your faves and great feedback!
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