Last weekend I attended Anthrocon and it was pretty darn awesome. While I don’t consider myself a furry, I do enjoy realistic costumes, so I took the raptor mask I made (base/blank by: http://kierstinlapatka.tumblr.com/ ) and some gloves I put together. I ran out of time to make a tail. I figured I’d raptor around the con incognito, because it’s fun to be anonymous. Unfortunately for my planned secrecy, I was unaware that in the interim my last photoset of the raptor mask managed to accumulate around 3,000 notes on Tumblr, and the internet knew that it was mine, so there was no secrecy or anonymity. OH WELL I had fun anyhow! Let me tell you though, it’s super weird to have people come up and shout “I SAW THIS ON TUMBLR" in real life. Uhhh. Hi, Internets.

Thus, I raptored around the con and generally acted like a nuisance. The very best reactions were the ‘muggles’… people on the street. They acted like it was Disneyworld and almost everyone really loved it. My friend managed to get a photo of me peeking into a bar window. Check out the enthusiastic lady on the far right.

I even managed to bump into my eagle mask being worn around the con a few times, which was super exciting to me (the Philippines Eagle mask seen above).

All photo credit goes to my friends Byzil and Hypno.

Here is a short video. I didn’t know she was recording at first so I was holding very still so she could take a still photo. Oops. Also ignore my bad anatomy raptor wrists pose. I had just smacked Dark Natasha in the throat with my claws accidentally and was feeling a bit sheepish. (Natasha was fine, but apparently I was going for the kill. Instincts?) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJLdFoQOSOg

I am thinking of naming her Kinglet, after the bird that inspired her.

Based on the new PLOSone paper that I posted about earlier - for those who haven’t seen, there is a new study that looks at how chickens walk differently when they have a long artificial tail strapped to their butts. The paper comes with a lovely little video of the control and experimental chickens walking. A regular chicken’s locomotion is more knee-driven, while the posterior weight of an artificial tail makes the animal walk with a hip-driven gait instead.

This study has obvious implications for how non-avian theropods walked, so I could not resist doing a quick (1 hour or so) animation of a dromaeosaur loosely based on Deinonychus doing the dino-walk.

I animated a little maniraptor based on this adorable cockatoo gif originally posted by Clinically Depressed Pug.

I keep thinking that dinosaurs should be depicted as more than just killing machines with teeth and claws and gore… since birds are dinosaurs, I bet at least the more bird-related ones could’ve been fluffy, cute, and playful bundles of love! 
Heck even Bald Eagles have their moments of playfulness! Why not dinos?

Drew each frame in SAI and then put the gif together on premiere.

Hey I think it’s the first of my animations on tumblr! yay!

Blue Peacockidons, A. J. Trahan

This was the last afternoon the brothers would spend together. Their adult plumage was almost completely grown in: just a few gray-green plumes hung from frames becoming sleek and iridescent with vibrant blues that almost shone in the sunlight. 

The following day, the older one snapped at the younger. He whistled a territorial song—a tune that dipped low, then rose to end in three trill and angry notes—spread his arms and shook his great blue tail, fanning his feathers, trying to look as big and threatening as he could. 

The younger one was confused, not ready to be chased away. He cocked his head and chirped, then dodged his older brother’s kicks. He moved a few paces away, and the brother glared at him, sang “lu-ohn-a-ree-ee-ee” again. The younger one paced, keeping a few body-lengths between them, but edged too near, and his older brother was jumping again, lashing out with long, skinny, barb-tipped legs, mouth wide, feathers puffed. They croaked and chittered and rolled through the undergrowth, as if being tossed by the wind, one brother trying to climb on his sibling, the other spinning to stay out from under him. 

After this second attack, the younger one ran away—his brother scolding a few more territorial announcements behind him—and stopped only when he could no longer hear his brother. He inspected a scratch he’d received in the fight. Blood beaded between plumes. After nursing it, he looked around. The forest seemed larger than before.

Watch on prehistoric-birds.tumblr.com

A lot of stock “monkey hooting” sound effects you hear in jungle scenes are actually the call of the kookaburra. Silly bird, what are you doing so far from Australia? 


Raptor Mask

This is a “generic Dromaeosaur” as it is not modeled after any specific species, nor is it even slightly trying to be scientifically accurate. That said, DINOBIRD AND FEATHERS.
The resin blank that this is based on was sculpted and created by Kierstin - http://kierstinlapatka.tumblr.com/  Don’t miss out on looking at her work, because her beautiful sculpting job is the star of the show here!
I then painted it, sculpted and set teeth into it, painted acrylic half-spheres and set them for eyes, added faux fur, and feathers. This is a fully functional mask, and the wearer can see (quite well!) out of holes in front of the eyes. The jaw is articulated and fluidly moves with the wearer’s own jaw movements.

The colors and patterns were inspired by 1) Golden-Crowned Kinglets, and 2) This old art I made, http://nambroth.deviantart.com/art/Dromaeosaur-Ferns-166320439 and, 3) I had this really cool faux fur that I really, really wanted to use… and,

Her expression changes drastically depending on the angle that she looks at you from. Sometimes she looks doofy and happy, and sometimes she looks .. well, predatory.

Here’s my rendition of Acheroraptor, the new Hell Creek velociraptorine dromaeosaur. It’s known only from the maxilla and dentary, so I decided to only draw the business end of the animal (that, and I didn’t really have the time for a full reconstruction). It’s depicted staring at a hispine beetle, of which there is abundance evidence (Johnson et al 2000) from Hell Creek ichnofossils.

The animal has been known from teeth for many years, and was only recently finally given a name, Acheroraptor temertyorum, after the underworld Acheron of Greek mythology (Hell Creek reference and so on). Phylogenetic analysis recovers it as a velociraptorine, the most basal member of the group containing Velociraptor, Adasaurus and Tsaagan.

Photoshop CS4, ~2-3 hours


Raptoring Around RMFC
This past weekend I was able to make to to RMFC for the first time. Only hours before my flight to Denver, I had managed to make myself a quick tail of somewhat appropriate shape. I dared not make it any longer, for fear of taking out bystanders with my quick and lithe raptor like movements. I am still calling her Kinglet, for lack of a better name.
I had a lot of fun, though I was pretty exhausted from camping in the approximately 10k-foot high mountains just days prior, and my stamina was not the best as a result.
(Mask base is by kierstinlapatka, check out her fantastic work! Slightly modified and finished by me. The fantastic leather thing on my butt is crafted by FolkOfTheWoodCraft .)

Photo credits to my husband, eldarath. This was the first time I had a real camera with me at a convention! Fun! If anyone else has photos of Kinglet, I’d love to see them too. I am still a bit nervous about costuming like this (you can not deny that it’s a pretty silly thing to do), but it beings out an innocent fun that reminds me of childhood. It was delightful to make people smile, and I was happily surprised that a number of people knew that I was playing as a feathered dinosaur!


My amazing grandma sent me this in the mail today. She stitched the whole thing by hand. Yep, I have pretty much the best grandma in the universe. I’m also pretty sure I’m only person in the entire world, at this given time, with an accurate dromaeosaur tea towel.

(It is two Deinonychus parents with a chick.)

Conventional wisdom has it that all non-bird dinosaurs got extinct at the end of the Cretaceous period. But what if some had held on for a few more million years? Here, a Palaeocene mammal named Pantolambda encounters a late-surviving descendant of Velociraptor or Deinonychus-like dinosaurs.

Buy a print of this work at Zazzle.com


Watch on nambroth.tumblr.com

CanineHybrid took this video of me at RMFC last month!

I am a doof and didn’t realize that I was being filmed (a lot of the of folks around were taking still images so I was posing often). On top of not feeling well,I had spent the last week at around 10k feet in the mountains and was feeling a bit lethargic overall; I was slow-motion more than I normally am. Normally I’m a bit more bird-like and quick. Oops!
(note: the squeaking is not me! The only sound I make is a solid ‘clack’ when  I snap my mouth shut at one point)

As always, be sure to check out kierstinlapatka as she is the one that made the raptor base that I finished! She is amazing. You won’t be disappointed.

My sincere thanks to caninehybrid for taking the time to record me!!

Diagnostic anatomical reconstruction of Deinonychus antirrhopus, intended loosely for Wikipedia but also as an experimental piece to show pretty much exactly how I believe this animal looked in life.

This was largely inspired by an interesting Facebook discussion with paleoartist Julius Csotonyi about arm-folding in paravian dinosaurs. It occurred to me that people seldom reconstruct paravians, particularly dromaeosaurs, with their arms folded in a reasonable and accurate way. Julius made the fair point that these animals probably didn’t carry their arms out in front of the body, as is so often depicted (in skeletals and otherwise — it makes sense in skeletals, to adequately show the hand and arm anatomy), because such an awkward orientation would leave the hand and arm feathers open to damage and breakage. But they also can’t fold them tightly against the breast or back like birds do, because they lack the mobility to do so.

So how did Deinonychus normally carry its arms? Senter’s 2006 paper on forelimb function in Deinonychus and Bambiraptor shows that the humerus couldn’t rotate much past the horizontal with respect to the scapula. In addition, Sullivan et al. 2010 — winningly translated to layman coherency by Matt Martyniuk — shows that wrist mobility in many paravians is much less than you might expect, given their similarity to birds. The wrist of Deinonychus antirrhopus specifically would not have allowed it to bend its hands even 90° with respect to the arm!

Given these limitations, most of the flexion would have to occur at the elbow, but a fully flexed elbow would mean that the hands would be hanging below the body, not held sleek and secure alongside the body. The arm orientation in my illustration above is based on what I think is probably the perfect configuration for carrying the arms: a fully-flexed shoulder, a fully-flexed wrist, and a nearly fully-extended elbow. A few other people have drawn their dromaeosaurs with the same arm configuration, like Smnt2000 and Pilsator, so kudos to them.

Illustration based on the papers linked above as well as Scott Hartman's beautiful skeletal. Gouache on 12” x 20” hot-pressed illustration board.