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Crab Skeletons by ChristianPearce Crab Skeletons by ChristianPearce
Here's a pretty cool little seaside casualty I found the other day. You see these guys pretty often at the beaches here but this one was a bit bigger than most so I cleaned him up and did these sketches.
I hadn't really looked too closely at crab skeletons before and it proved to be a real learning experience. It's cool seeing how these little mammals have adapted to life in the sea. As warm-blooded vertebrates they share a similar basic structure to us but with a few specialised modifications.
The metacarpals and phalanges have simplified and fused into a pair of opposing pincer-like shapes and with their thick epidermal layer they function as highly effective claws.
The wide scapula sits far down the ribcage and forms a strong foundation for anchoring the teres major.
Probably the component most far removed from our own frame is the pelvic girdle which has evolved into a six-socketed form almost unrecognisable to ours.
I painted up a skull study as well - what bizarre little craniums they have! The eye sockets are open with the zygomatic bone being wholly disconnected from the supraorbital foramen - I guess this is due to the stability offered by the hardened epidermis and to allow free movement of the eyestalks.
What appears to be a nasal cavity is actually a food filtering system - the "nasal concha" is in reality a gill-like arrangement for catching too-large fragments in the feeding process. It continues down behind the maxilla.
A remarkable free floating pre-maxilla carries the first battery of tiny teeth with the second, smaller set of mandibles hidden away below.
So there you have it! That was a pretty interesting process for me, learning about these dudes. I find it fascinating how mammals can adapt and transform to live in any environment yet still retain their inherent vertebrate humanity.

You can see a photo of the guy over here: [link]
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:iconp-graner:
P-Graner Featured By Owner May 29, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
You shoud be a biologist, I ahve never seen a crab skeleton
Try to get a Nobel Prize
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:iconchristianpearce:
ChristianPearce Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2015
They are quite rare!
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:iconumbbe:
umbbe Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2011  Student Digital Artist
It's amazing how similar the skull is to that of a mammal, too... Unbelievable even.
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:iconm0ai:
M0AI Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
That is brilliant!
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:iconamnioticoef:
AmnioticOef Featured By Owner May 23, 2011
Holy Christ, that's awesome!
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:iconchristianpearce:
ChristianPearce Featured By Owner May 25, 2011
Cheers AO!
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:iconflaketom:
flaketom Featured By Owner May 18, 2011
amazing idea and so beautifully and greatly done! Love it!
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:iconchristianpearce:
ChristianPearce Featured By Owner May 25, 2011
thank you!
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:iconbuuwho:
BuuWho Featured By Owner May 12, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Extremely clever! I love it ;]
Had me going for a sec there though!
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:iconchristianpearce:
ChristianPearce Featured By Owner May 25, 2011
ha! cheers!
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:iconson-of-incogneato:
Son-of-Incogneato Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Ha-ha! This is great. Revise the biology books now!
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:iconheroesrain:
HeroesRain Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I think it is a cool and interesting idea to picture a crustacean with a skeleton, something with and exoskeleton made into something with and endoskeleton. Really cool idea, you would have to know a lot about the skeletal system and how it works.
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:iconchristianpearce:
ChristianPearce Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2011
Thanks! It was fun to do
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:iconzippo4k:
Zippo4k Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2011
I have to be honest, I loled when I saw this! If crabs actually had skulls I would have collected a bunch by now! I have an ever growing collection (just got a new coyote Sunday) that I keep on my desk at college that I love showing off to folks so I can seen their expressions of either fascination or horror. :XD:
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:iconchristianpearce:
ChristianPearce Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2011
You can't beat a good skull alright. Cheers Zippo!
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:iconstucat:
stucat Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2011
I bet you it took you longer to type all that fascinating new information that I never knew about these underwater mammals, than to illustrate these rad skeletal constructions.

Thank you again mr wikipedia!
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:iconchristianpearce:
ChristianPearce Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2011
Hey no sweat man, glad I could help!
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:iconfelisdeityus:
felisdeityus Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2011
OMG EPIC!!!! So cool, man... Loving the toofs! :love:
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:iconjoelamatguell:
JoelAmatGuell Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
love it. the skull is actually awesome, a bit creepy but still awesome haha
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