Well, this is my first paleoart image on DA. This scene features Lazarussuchus, a small choristodere, seen swimming from below. I made this scene in the beginning of december 2011, so that is already quite some time ago. Although it took only three hours to complete, I'm not very satisfied with the way it turned out. Still it's a lot better than the first version I made in december 2010 as this is a redo of that drawing:[link]
Lazarussuchus is a member of the choristodera, a poorly known group of diapsids. Better-known choristoderans are Champsosaurus and Hyphalosaurus. For a long time Champsosaurus was thought to have been the youngest choristodere, surviving well into the Eocene. It has been only recently that people realised that choristoderans in fact survived much longer. Fossils from the Czech Republic of Early-Miocene strata were attributed to Lazarussuchus dvoraki, which is depicted here. Apart from deinotheriid-fossils I do not know any other creatures that were found in the area. This would make it very hard for the creature to interact with any other being in the drawing so I decided to draw it on its own.
In the recent time it has also been discovered that choristoderans may in fact be much older than previously thought. Fossils from the Triassic choristodere Pachystropheus (I do not really approve of the choristoderan nature of Doswellia) show that choristoderans were already around before dinosaurs even appeared. Pachystropheus was already almost as advanced as Champsosaurs and Simoedosaurs. This implies that, due to the early diversity of choristoderans, they might already have been around since the Permian, much earlier than previously thought.
Ironically, Lazarussuchus is, together with Irenosaurus and Khurendukhosaurus (both from the Early-Cretaceous of Mongolia), considered one of the most basal members of the Choristodera. The name Lazarussuchus, thus, refers to the lazarus-taxon as this branch of basal choristoderans contains two major gaps in time. As they probably originated around the Late-Permian period and the oldest fossils from this branch are found in the Early-Cretaceous as Irenosaurus and Khurendukhosaurus there is a gap of around 130 to 140 million years in time between the point of origin and the oldest fossils. Between these fossils and the oldest fossils of Lazarussuchus from the Late-Oligocene there is another gap of around 100 million years. Therefore I think a lot of choristoderan taxa are still missing out and I really hope that new fossils will be found soon so that new insights in the classification of choristoderans will see the light.
I'd really like to hear your opinion on this drawing. Comments, requests and feedback are very welcome as well. Now I'm gonna go and think of a new drawing to upload (if you have any ideas, please feel free to share them!
) and I hope to be uploading some other paleoart sooner or later.
P.S. First Lazarussuchus in DA!!!