In a rather non-paleo/anthro related post, I wanted to take a few minutes from my studies and call attention to the passing of a great man whose work has been seen by nearly everyone in the modern world...although most don't know it.
Ralph McQuarrie, the concept artist whose work got Star Wars: A New Hope greenlighted, passed away today at his home. He had a great influence on the visual qualities of the Star Wars Universe, but not just directly related the movies we saw on the screen. He also published a great deal of his concept art that fleshed out the nuances of the swamp ecosystem on Dagobah, illustrated the esoteric and rather extreme meditation practices of the B'omarr Order of monks on Tattooine, and, of course, was responsible for the iconic look of Darth Vader's helmet.
Mr. McQuarrie also worked on Back to the Future, the Indiana Jones movies, and even Batteries Not Included, all three of which were perennial favories of mine while growing up.
My brother and I spend many hours looking over books of Mr. McQuarrie's work in The Illustrated Star Wars Universe.
You will be missed, General Pharl McQuarrie.