Teaching monster anatomy
December 29, 2016 9:56 AM   Subscribe

Best online resources for teaching speculative anatomy, 8th grade to high school age?

I'm looking for resources about real-world adaptations -- wings, venom, hibernation, camouflage, backbones, oddly jointed jawbones, etc - that can easily bridge to the fantastic: fire breathing, multicephaly, poison breath, and wings again (but like, on horses and humans). The goal is to use analysis of real adaptations to speculate as to how the latter might have evolved, and to spend a lot of time drawing and modeling monstrous features.

I'd be grateful for links to existing anatomy resources (human or otherwise). For instance, the Cornell Ornithology Lab's bird anatomy page. Also various drawing resources in the deviant art vein -- there's a ton of material I've found that is well researched and easy to link up (here and here, for instance)
posted by puckish to Education (4 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
It's a book, not on line, but Barlowe's Guide to Extraterrestrials: Great Aliens from Science Fiction Literature is an amazing resource for exactly this. Amazon link.

It was utterly fascinating as a kid, full and anatomical detail drawings of various alien species from authors like Azimov through Lovecraft to Vogt. The main deficiency in today's context is that it goes up to about 1980 or so.

Even dated though, this is an amazing resource for artists and speculative anatomy. Might be worth having a single copy even as a class resource book.
posted by bonehead at 10:06 AM on December 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

Have you seen the competition show Face Off? It's got a lot of this. Judges frequently blast the artists for bad anatomy choices and/or ask them to explain why they made x or y physical choice for a creature who is supposed to live in z environment.
posted by phunniemee at 10:09 AM on December 29, 2016

That sounds like a very neat course! The National Library of Medicine Exhibition program has a ton of online anatomy resources with lesson plans, suggested reading lists, and interactive tools. It's not the easiest to navigate, but there is definitely a lot there that could be useful for you. Specifically, you should check out Dream Anatomy and Harry Potter's World.
posted by galvanized unicorn at 10:29 AM on December 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

Check out Brynn Metheney's blog- it's full of sketches and thought process.

A search term you might find generally useful is "speculative evolution" . There's a neat wiki, have a look at the resources under "Tutorial".
posted by Erasmouse at 11:57 AM on December 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

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