A Dinosaur Enthusiast™ told me this little mnemonic at ECCC this year and I’ve been trying to figure out a way to use it ever since then! I’ve seen a bunch of dino art because of Jurassic World (yay!) and although most people know that Jurassic Park dinos are naked and should have feathers, their poor broken wrists are often looked over. Remember, raptors (and other theropods) were clappers, not tappers!

Dinosaurs are AWESOME and more accurate dinosaurs only means more awesome dinosaurs. Dinosaurs dinosaurs dinosaurs dinosaurs dinosaursdinosarusdinosarusdidngosurgsdinosugars


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.

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.

Stunningly Intact Dinosaur Fossil

The almost perfectly complete fossil of a young theropod dinosaur – including some preserved hair and skin* (see update below) – was unveiled yesterday by scientists from the Bavarian paleontological and geological collections (BSPG) in Munich, Germany. BSPG conservator Oliver Rauhut described it as the best preserved dinosaur skeleton to have ever been found in Europe.

Darren Naish, palaeontologist at the University of Southampton, says the fossil is “incredible”. Rauhut says that fossils of theropod dinosaurs, which include the genus Tyrannosaurus, are rare and usually fragmented. “The best-preserved Tyrannosaurus we have are about 80 percent preserved, and that is already terrific,” he says. The new fossil is around 98% intact.

The dinosaur died around 135 million years ago at a site near the present town of Kelheim in the southern German state of Bavaria. Rauhut and his team of palaeontologists think it was no more than a year old

Naish hopes that the bone preservation in the fossil is as outstanding as it looks in the publically-released photo, because this might help scientists piece together the phylogeny of theropod species. No data is available on the fossil yet, so Naish can only speculate, but he says the dinosaur seems to have proportionally shorter legs, and a longer tail, than have been seen in other similar theropods. Particularly tantalising is the question of whether these differences are attributable to the dinosaur being a juvenile, or if it might be an example of a new species.

Read more.

Scott Hartman has recently released his silhouette of the new Utahraptor reconstruction to Phylopic. Even though the paper hasn’t actually come out yet, Scott gave me permission to upload my own drawing as well, which he has approved as being accurate (at least from a distance - any more subtle anatomy differences would be likely hidden by feathers). 

Clearly, the new material will completely revamp our perception of what this animal looked like and probably how it behaved as well. Note the downturned jaw with its procumbent teeth and the much shorter limbs and tail. I’ve heard people say the new material makes Utahraptor “ugly”, but I don’t see ugly, I just see very, very strange - like an “ostrich bulldog”, to use Kirkland’s words.

Hopefully we’ll see the paper out soon. I don’t know much detail beyond what you see here, so I’m as excited as the rest of you. And now to let the ecological speculation on what it was actually doing with that weird jaw and extra-short limbs begin!


Jinfengopteryx elegans by Hillary Esdaile:

“New Caledonian crows fashion sticks into harpoons and use them to snag tasty grubs out of holes and rotting wood. I wanted to draw a dinosaur using tools the same way, and I figured if any dinosaur was clever enough to figure it out, it would be a troodontid. So here is Jinfengopteryx elegans, a small troodontid from China that lived around 122 million years ago. This was my first serious foray into paleo art and though I admit I took some liberties with the flora, I tried to be as accurate as I could with the dinosaur. Jaime A. Headden helped me out a lot with the anatomy (many thanks!)”

GIFs from this video