A huge amount of my time over the last several weeks has been spent working on an upcoming VMNH exhibit, which will include a significant component on the Ordovician Period (the reason I’ve been doing so much collecting in Indiana and Kentucky over the last year). In addition to collecting specimens and writing text, I’ve also been working on life-sized models of some of the Ordovician critters.
This is my first completed model of the nautiloid cephalopod Isorthoceras sociale, which is preserved in vast numbers in the Maquoketa Formation outcrop at Graf, Iowa (the rock it’s sitting on is from one of the cephalopod beds at Graf). I modeled this individual in a swimming mode, making the assumption that these nautiloids bunched their tentacles together when swimming in the same way as many modern squid. I’ve also done a few with the tentacles spread out a bit, but they’re not yet completed.
The model is made from five separate resin pieces, for which I’ve made silicone molds. That way I can make a small school of Isorthoceras for the exhibit, time permitting. I’m also working on several other models; I’ll post photos of those when they’re completed.