I AM SO ANGRY RIGHT NOW.
I had a dream that I was driving through a snowy, semi-wooded area and I SAW A TROODON. A literal real-life Troodon, no mistaking it. It was antagonizing a large deer. Pretty obviously not hunting it (it was way too small and the deer was very big) just nipping at its rear end for the lulz (I’m amazed it managed to not get kicked.)
And then it ran off and I jumped out of the car like “HOLY CRAP I KNOW WHAT COLOR TROODON IS I HAVE TO GET PHOTOS SO I CAN SHOW PEOPLE.”
Because that was the priority. I had to prove to people that I knew its real colors, and not that it was ACTUALLY ALIVE or anything.
It was almost all white, aside from some chestnut patches along the face, back, wings, and tail fan. So kiiiinda like sinosauropteryx, just with way more white.
I found myself on this high cliff-like overhang looking down the forest below and saw it running back and forth at the bottom, kind of like it was amusing itself kicking up snow. IT WAS TOO FAST. I could not get any decent photos that were not blurry as all hell.
I only had one choice: I had to get closer.
As I approached it I found myself actually considering more serious implications of A REAL-LIFE TROODON, such as how amazing it was that it looked almost unchanged after all this time. (But then, plenty of theropod lineages kept the same body shape for dozens of millions of years, I reminded myself, so it wasn’t that surprising.)
And I had a moment of doubt, like “maybe I’m wrong and it’s not a Troodon” but then I saw the long tail and the sickle claw and I KNEW. Also it was waaay too leggy and slender-faced to be a dromaeosaur. YES. IT WAS A TROODON. It was very playful and curious and not nearly as shy as I was expecting (how has no one found you until now wtf.)
Its eyes were SO HUGE and amber-colored and the way the light shined through the cornea and reflected off the iris was incredible (my dreams almost never render things that hi-res, one reason I was certain it was not a dream.) Also as I got closer I was able to see that it actually had a lot of neat darker markings within the chestnut patch around the eyes. It sort of had a facial disk, although not nearly as exaggerated as owls.
In fact, the detail about it that surprised me the most was that it had no feathers on its feet (there’s snow everywhere! how are your feets warm??) but rather pebbly white scales with darker slate-grey scutes. Not that this is impossible–I mean, scutes are derived from feathers, and the switch between them seems pretty variable in anything past the point of Stage IV feathers (i.e. all pennaraptors.) It just surprised me because I like to draw troodontids with feathered feet and dromaeosaurs without, to distinguish them. But then again, it’s been 66 million years, modern troodon had to be pretty derived, even if they still had the same general shape.
Also living Troodon means that the crown group for birds suddenly == Eumaniraptors! Hahahaha dromaeosaurs are birds now, suck it dudebros.
But THE WORST PART was that the dream had a fake-out ending! I woke up like “oh no, oh no, do I still have the photos” I and I frantically checked my phone and YES I STILL HAD THE PHOTOS ok everything was good, so I went back to sleep feeling confident.
…I didn’t really have the photos. >:(