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Submitted on
September 26, 2012
Image Size
1.7 MB
Submitted with


8,427 (4 today)
233 (who?)

Camera Data

Canon PowerShot S50
Shutter Speed
1/318 second
Focal Length
9 mm
Date Taken
Jan 3, 2008, 12:15:59 PM
Adobe Photoshop CS4 Windows
Sensor Size
Backscratcher of the Birdrong by Gogosardina Backscratcher of the Birdrong by Gogosardina
Digital tablet drawing on photomanipulated background, 2012.

A second entry for Eofish's Shark Week contest ([link] ) - my first submission was just a rehash of an existing piece so to be fair, I decided to create something from scratch. Without the benefit of my usual hand-painted components it kinda looks sketchy in places - I may fix this later.

129,000,000 years ago, Early Cretaceous (Hauterivian-Barremian), Kalbarri, Western Australia

In the warm seas off Eastern Gondwana, a grey nurse shark (Carcharias sp.) finds herself mobbed by juvenile plesiosaurs (Leptocleidus clemai) who rub their itchy flanks against the fish's sandpaper-like skin.

Leptocleidus clemai was a small plesiosaur (2 metre adult length) based on 2 partial skeletons from the
Birdrong Sandstone near Kalbarri, Western Australia. The depicted behaviour is based on observations of modern reef teleosts that rub against the flanks of sharks to remove parasites.

The lamniform shark genus Carcharias is a true living fossil - represented today by C. taurus, a cosmopolitan species with numerous common names (grey nurse, sand-tiger, bull, ragged-tooth etc). The fossil record for this genus extends all the way back to near the beginning of the Cretaceous, including teeth from the Birdrong Sandstone that, aside from their smaller size, are nearly identical with the modern form.

The modern grey nurse is a normally docile species that is unfortunately in decline (considered "vulnerable" globally), the combined result of commercial harvesting for it's fins and liver oil, incidental deaths in nets and trophy hunting. While protected in many parts of the world, population recovery is hampered by an extremely low rate of reproduction due to intrauterine cannibalism. Having enjoyed swimming with this species in the wild and in captivity, I can confidently state that it would be a real shame to lose this living link with the Cretaceous.

The artist is a proud supporter of Hearts for Sharks Australia - [link]

Edit - fixed the eyes on the plesiosaur facing the viewer - gave it a bit too much stereoscopic vision before.
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Dinofuzz Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Awesome! :la:
The poses of the plesiosaurs are wonderful!
seemycriitersss Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2014
A nurse shark at fish store in our area has been trained to roll over, They say she will eat when she rolls over
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Wow this is nice. Always wanted to swim with Sandtigers. They look so scary with their long teeth but actually harmless to humans.
Gogosardina Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Yeah, I've got a number of Carcharias teeth just from diving underneath where they congregate and picking them off the seafloor. They were totally unfazed by my presence.
HybodusStudios Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2013
well this is cute.
Is it possible for these marine reptiles to use a shark as sandpaper?
Baranguirus Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2014
Well, it could benefit the shark in some way too, as they might also get skin parasites.
HybodusStudios Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2014
Thus getting rid of any skin parasites in both the shark and the plesiosaurs due to the actinos of the plesiosaurs...
tonystardreamer Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Nice job.

Juvenile(Leptocleidus clemai are so Cute. :D
ksdinoboy95 Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2013
I love this work!!!aloha from kauaii
seatosea Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
There are plesiousaurs that small? The smallest I knew of was Cryptoclidus. Well, I guess you learn something new everyday.
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