swan-sized Troodon was a dinosaur found all over North America, from
New Mexico to Alberta, Canada. Teeth found in Alaska, however, suggest
that individuals in more northern regions could grow as large as an
A sketch from some months ago that I revisited and finished this weekend. I didn’t use any references so it doesn’t represent any actual species. Could be a troodontid or a dromaeosaurid, I don’t know.
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.
Child - Feather coat scruffy and downy. Pennaceous feathers haven’t fully grown in yet.
Adolescent - Pennaceous feathers have grown in and arms are disproportionately long for the body. Adolescents are capable gliders and tend to use their feet for holding things.
Adult - Feathers have receded from the fingertips, freeing up the hands for tool use. Display feathers around face are fully developed and will be brightly colored. Gliding ability reduced. Using feet to hold things at this age is considered childish (but everyone still does it anyway when no one is looking.)
Meet my new Troodon OC! Their name in Teebs and they’ll be appearing in my Jurassic World AU. Like all of Jurassic World’s animals, (since they stopped using amphibian DNA, at least), Teebs’s biological sex is female, but since they’re a dinosaur, they don’t give a synapsid’s butt about gender. Call them whatever you like!
(For any of you MTMTE fans out there who may come across the post, yes, they were named after Trailbreaker’s fan?nickname. I dunno whether his nickname is canon or not. I just thought it was cute. Also, Teebs’s human caretaker is a massive transformers nerd.)
Because the more, the merrier, more dinosaurs should be cropping up soon.
The concept of Teebs was heavily inspired by @iguanodont‘s Soap and several depictions of Troodontids with facial disks floating around Tumblr. (If you’re the one that came up with that paleomeme, please contact me so I can give you proper credit!)
@theasgardiantimelord this was the character who the Raptor Squad would pick a fight with who I told you about. Big Boy.
More dinosaur concepts! I’ve decided Sealights is gonna be melanistic, and shadowed by superstition wherever she goes. Poor girl.
Some centrosaurs who are a big part of Sealights life–Shoot is her adopted momma, Glaciertusk is King of the Herd and Shoot’s son, Baldface is an aggressive old hind, and Whistler is Sealights’ closest friend.
And then an unfinished painting of some silly troodontids who thought raiding an hesperonychus nest was a smart idea. I’m not gonna finish it but I thought it was corny.
As promised, here is the droman skeleton! They look pretty silly without feathers, which is why I’ve included two silhouettes. To be honest, the whole reason I designed them with prominent head feathers was to hide the awkwardly large braincase, which made many dinosauroids ugly imo. Also, as a cartoonist the feathers will prove useful for emoting.
Below is a brief list of key anatomical features.
Enlarged braincase - Self-explanatory, really Reduced jaw muscles - Allowed more space for the brain to grow Reduced muzzle - Correlated with reduced jaw muscles, as well as the increasingly omnivorous diet, the lack of need for a killing bite, and the increase in neotenous features Short, thick neck - Supports the enlarged head closer to the center of gravity Long head feathers - For display and conveying emotion Long forearms - Used for flight in juveniles and for a lengthy reach in adults Opposable thumbs - For manipulation Dexterous feet - Reversed hallux is held off the ground while walking Opisthopubic pelvis
I promise I’ll have a write-up on how/why dromans are sapient soon! I’ve put tons of thought into it and every new piece of information I’ve learned over the past few months has reinforced my ideas on how it happened. As a bit of a teaser, they’re an extremely social species with a huge emphasis on showing off in every way. Intelligence, creativity and dexterity, while moderately useful for survival, are expensive traits that wouldn’t really need to develop past a certain point…that is, if it hadn’t been for runaway sexual selection!
I’ve been thinking for a while about what might have arisen if the dinosaurs hadn’t gone extinct, and if selective pressures were such that higher intelligence evolved. There have been some popular works on the subject over the years (the classic and extremely human-like “dinosauroids” of Dale Russell, Robert J. Sawyer’s “Quintaglio Ascension” trilogy of sci-fi books, and many other artists working on similar projects); this one is my take on the idea - sentient Oviraptorosaurs.
It seems most other similar projects tend to speculate on elevated cleverness evolving in the Paraves clade, and this makes sense: We know some of the most intelligent extant organisms on Earth (outside of the primates) are birds, especially the crows and ravens, and certain parrots. Some of their closest extinct non-avian dinosaur relatives are the Dromaeosaurids and Troodontids, and these fine animals are popular points of departure for speculative evolutionists. The Maniraptoran clade (of which Dromaeosaurids, Troodontids, modern birds, and Oviraptorosaurs are all a part) has some key attributes that we share: On Earth we have only one data point for human-level intelligence so far, so it seems logical to me to look for other organisms with similar traits when speculating on potential evolution of advanced tool-using intelligence – traits like large brains, high brain to body size ratios, grasping appendages (useful for manipulating the environment), bipedal motion (to keep those grasping appendages unoccupied), living on land (as smart as dolphins are, it would be hard to use fire, smelt metals etc. underwater), and a social structure that puts selective pressure on the ability to out-think and/or cooperate with others of your species.
Personally, I favored the Oviraptorosaurs in part to differentiate my own fiction from the rest. Oviraptorosaurian brain/body ratio may not have been quite as high as that found in the Troodontids, for example, but they do have one additional interesting trait that is similar to our own hominid forebears: probable omnivory. It seems to me that hominid and corvid intelligence may be at least partly linked to social interaction with conspecifics, but also with problem-solving to exploit different food resources. The Dromaeosaurs and Troodontids, it seems, were more likely obligate carnivores and thus would have less evolutionary pressure to develop interesting techniques for obtaining food. That, and I think Oviraptorosaurs look really cool.
This is a work of fiction; I was thinking of potentially writing and illustrating a book on the subject. If you’d like to see more, leave a comment!
Please do not use or reproduce without permission.