Thursday, November 15, 2007

My Favorite Extinct Animals Cards

I've been going crazy lately printing linoleum block Christmas cards. I feel like I've printed so many of these but I probably still need to print about 20 more. At some point I will post a picture of them but maybe, possibly, hopefully, some people who I will be sending Christmas cards to actually read my blog so I won't spoil them for those few people.

Anyway after I printed a few of these I decided to distract my self by carving a few different blocks to make printed cards. These are inspired by some of my favorite animals to have gone extinct in the last 500 years. All of these animals are featured in the book A Gap in Nature. Which is a really nice coffee table type book with beautiful illustrations of 103 vertebrates that have become extinct since 1492.

This is the Great Auk (Pinguinus impennis). It was a big flightless bird related to puffins and murres that was formerly native to the North Atlantic. It was last sited on July 3rd of 1844.

This one is Steller's Sea Cow (Hydrodamalis gigas). It was a 3 ton manatee like animal that in prehistoric times lived along the North Pacific coast. It was first seen by Europeans when the Russian explorer Vitus Bering's ship was ship wreaked on the Commander Islands in 1741. The crew found the animals quite tasty and easy to catch and by 1768 it was extinct.

The final one is the Stephens Island Wren (Xenicus lyalli). It was a small flightless wren native to Stephens Island, a small uninhabited island off New Zealand's South Island. A lighthouse was built on the island in 1894 and the entire species was supposedly wiped out by the lighthouse keeper's cat named Tibbles in that same year.

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