The Arms Of Old T. Rex.

Pro tip: Clicking on the art below makes it easily readable.

Science Note: Radiation doesn't actually turn lizards into dinosaurs.

Science Note: Radiation doesn’t actually turn lizards into dinosaurs.

In the fictional land of Wakanda, permeated by Vibranium alloy from space and then hit by those weird meteors from last issue, maybe dinosaurs spontaneously happen. I mean, that’s solid Comic Book Science, as opposed to Real Science. When Real Science is involved, its a much bigger chore to just “get new dinosaurs.”

Although, new dinosaurs are apparently being found all the time. That’s kind of an amazing fact right there, if you give it some thought. Dinosaur bones have to have lasted, as pieces of rock, for millions of years, to be found now. Most things that you just kind of leave around decay back into the whole ecosystem…so in order for there to be so many fossils to find now, there needed to have been a crazy number of dinosaurs on the planet at one time.

So this newly identified species of dinosaur, named Gualicho Shinyae, sported small arms and hands with two clawed fingers. Like the T. Rex, that is, except much smaller. Mind you….it’s possible to be much smaller than a T. Rex and still be pretty big, and that’s the case here. Based on what they found, as well as the anatomy of other Allosaurus dinosaurs, they estimate that at its hips G. Shinyae was about 6 feet tall, and that it measured about 25 feet long…weighing in at about 1 metric ton (1.1 tons). By dinosaur standards, that’s not huge…but it would be about mid-size. That informed the scale above, True Believers….cool, huh?

G. Shinyae belonged to a group called the Allosaurs (I kind of mentioned that a paragraph ago, with zero context) and lived about 90 million years ago, during the Cretaceous period. That’s a good 23 million years before T. Rex lived, between 67 million and 65 million years ago. Because they are only distantly related, the two species likely developed their tiny arms and two-digit hands independently due to similar evolutionary pressures — a process called “convergent evolution.”

In case it wasn’t all that clear from the context, convergent evolution is the process whereby organisms not closely related, independently evolve similar traits as a result of having to adapt to similar environments or ecological niches. An example of convergent evolution is the similar nature of the flight/wings of insects, birds, pterosaurs, and bats. All four serve the same function and are similar in structure, but each evolved independently.

So, yeah. Apparently tiny @#$%ing arms was some kind of key advantage to the predators of these time periods. Go figure.

Note that the dinosaurs don’t have feathers. There are three reasons for this. First, I didn’t want to draw any @#$% feathers…I’m set in my ways on the way dinosaurs should look. If I wanted to draw a giant chicken, I would. Secondly…Scientific American had an illustration of Gualicho Shinyae which had scales instead of feathers. Who am I to argue with Scientific American and their art editors? If they suggest scales, I’ll take it. Finally…in wondering about the scales to feathers question, I looked around at various research opinions, and where most scientists agree that later dinosaurs like T. Rex had feathers, there’s an opinion that they evolved over time from specialized scales, and that allosaurs might not have had feathers as such. I suppose that’s why Scientific American chose the art that they did.

Art pre-speech balloons and text.

Art pre-speech balloons and text.

I almost didn’t add speech balloons and text, feeling like the story was told well enough. Find random @#$ dinosaurs, dinosaurs seem mean, roast dinosaurs. Pretty straightforward, and all included in the panels.

In addition to there being far less Kirby Krackle (my hand hurts), I actually drew each panel way smaller than I usually do. This facilitated finishing all three much faster, and in addition, helped with the hand tingling that is on the mend. This does, however, mark the last strip in Wakanda for now. Figure that she just picked up another meteorite piece…I may go back to the idea, or I may be Chris Claremont, and leave it dangling pretty much forever. Hard to say.

I’m right now debating whether I’m going to do some sort of Sunday Bonus Post or not. It’s a possibility, since I should have some time today. God forbid I should use that day to get ahead on Monday’s artwork, and make my life easier. The past week or so made it all the more amazing to me that Jack Kirby used to illustrate multiple comic books per month! Trying to operate in his style, knowing exactly what I wanted to do in advance, was amazingly time intensive. The amount of work i managed was a drop in the bucket compared to the King’s daily output…but then, he was the King.

Also, the Big Science Gun seems to do an entirely different thing today. A couple of days ago it seemed to shoot a beam somehow involving lightning…? It was unclear. Today, its a some kind of series of concentric circles…maybe some kind of sound thing? I don’t really know, I wasn’t fishing for consistency here. She seems to have two of them in another panel, maybe they do different things.

I did like the panel though, so here it is again, made larger for more detail!

It makes a "bzzzt" noise, not a bang or a zap.  Let's be clear.

It makes a “bzzzt” noise, not a bang or a zap. Let’s be clear.

San Diego Comic-Con week is coming, so expect a large amount of comics industry related content. I never go to Comic-Con myself…it’s just too huge to feel very comfortable for me. There’s a whole lot to discuss about comics as a whole, and it has been a little while since the protagonist has had a team up.

As Stan Lee would say, and I haven’t in a while…Excelsior!

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