Protomammal Fallacy

A lively discussion is taking place in the comments at Art Evolved in the new Permian Synapsid Gallery. Are terms like proto-mammal or stem-mammal appropriate? I tend to think they confuse more than help. I understand evolution by natural selection is a sequence, but by defining an extinct creature by its descendants, I think we run the risk of promoting the facile and erroneous amoeba-->fish-->lizard-->mouse-->monkey-->ape-->human progression diagram. That is why for the Synapsid Gallery, I wanted to show a dicynodont with human arms erupting from its own shoulders (and a gorgonopsid with human legs threatening it in the background). To echo Dawkins, Permian synapsids were not half-evolved, not "on their way" to becoming us. They were successful animals living in their own niche.

Successfully made my point? Well, perhaps as an illustration to this blog post.


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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow under Creative Commons Licence.
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Art Monday: Synapsid peek

There's been a delay in the second ART Evolved gallery, our gallery of Permian Synapsids. So I thought I would show a teaser of the face of my dicynodont drawing. ART Evolved is a delicious visual treat cooked up by Craig Dylke and Peter Bond, with input from the rest of our paleo-artsy-bloggy crew. We launched a couple of months back in an attempt to showcase some of the best paleo-art being produced by bloggers. In addition to posts about technique and subject matter, every two months we aim to create a themed gallery that anyone can submit to, making for a lively a vibrant gallery. The first gallery featured ceratopsian dinosaurs, y'know, like triceratops.

I've added a self-updating blogroll of the whole regular ART Evolved gang in my sidebar (look down, way down below the flying trilobite button), so I can easily keep up with the diverse gang of artists involved.

The synapsid gallery should be up soon, thanks to the hard work of our tireless moderators. I've heard the expression before that organizing atheist freethinkers is like herding cats; I think organizing paleo-artists is probably closer to teaching velociraptors to drink tea properly.


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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow under Creative Commons Licence.

Flying Trilobite Gallery ### Flying Trilobite Reproduction Shop ###

Synapsid invasion almost here!

The second ART Evolved paleo-art gallery will launch May 1st! I'll have a piece in it, and one of the site coordinators, Craig Dylke of Traumador fame, has blown me away with his piece. Wait'll you see it.

The Permian Synapsid gallery has a lead-in here. The Permian is a fascinating period, pre-dinosaur, that ended with the most devastating mass extinction in Earth's history. The synapsids were a group of animals defined by a single hole in the skull behind the ear.

*sigh* I tried to do a" straight" scientific illustration but an idea struck me. You'll have to check it out come May 1st.

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow under Creative Commons Licence.
Flying Trilobite Gallery ### Flying Trilobite Reproduction Shop ###