Our Lady of the Late Jurassic – Archaeopteryx lithographica
Here is my latest painting, "Our Lady of the Late Jurassic" - a tribute to the amazing Archaeopteryx, my spirit animal and one of history's most legendary fossil creatures.
When Darwin first published On the Origin of Species in 1859, he proposed that paleontologists would discover a transitional organism in the fossil record between reptiles and birds. He rightly observed that birds have many reptilian features, including scales and claws and eggs - and according to the new theory of evolution by natural selection, all of their uniquely bird-like features would have been innovations on a basic reptile body plan sometime during the Age of Dinosaurs.
But in 1859 no such creature had been discovered, and creationists pointed to this gap in the fossil record in their arguments against evolutionary theory. but by 1861 the first skeleton of Archaeopteryx had been discovered in the lithographic limestones of Germany, and in the 4th edition of Darwin's book he updated it to mention this bizarre toothed bird with a bony tail and clawed fingers as the most forcible evidence for his theory.
This painting, which I did mostly live in concert at Meow Wolf before taking it home to finish in the studio, is based on the iconic Berlin specimen of Archaeopteryx - one of the most priceless fossils of all time, which was discovered by a farmer circa 1874 and sold for the money to buy a cow - arguably the most unfortunate sale of all time (except of course for the island of Manhattan) until the famous sale of a pizza for 10,000 Bitcoin in 2010.