The Latest

Aug 22, 2014 / 39 notes

thexenobiologist said: Hey, what's the deal with all this stuff about new Spinosaurus material? I can't find any concrete information about it, and it conflicts with the material you've previously mentioned.

Since this is like the 3 question I’ve gotten on the issue (apologies to theload and osteobones) my answer for now is simple: we have to wait for the paper.

It’s been an open secret for a while that there was new material (there’s actually more than just what is incorporated into the upcoming Nat Geo announcement), but since I haven’t seen any of the specimens in person I have not incorporated them into my reconstructions until such time as they get published. Remember, if it isn’t published in a peer-reviewed journal, it isn’t science yet

Since Nat Geo has scheduled a press event for later in September, I have to assume that the paper will be published soon (like in the coming few weeks). Then we can evaluate whether the new specimen(s) are a composite, or if Spinosaurus is simply weirder than we had previously realized. The scalloped dorsal spines would not themselves be a huge surprise, but some of the other proportions would be. Either way it’s certainly exciting, but we can’t know how exciting until the facts become part of the scientific body of data, and so far they are not. 

But hopefully soon. /fingers crossed

Majungasaurus doesn’t need any special treatment to look bizarre, but in the post-snarl calm you can just sit and gaze at how strange this beast really was.
Aug 7, 2014 / 316 notes

Majungasaurus doesn’t need any special treatment to look bizarre, but in the post-snarl calm you can just sit and gaze at how strange this beast really was.

Getting the armor placed correctly on Scelidosaurus made this skeletal my second-hardest reconstruction of all time (with the first being freakin’ Majungasaurus, which perhaps will be the next in the series). And of course it’s mouth is closed, even though it didn’t really open that wide in the first place.
Bonus fact: Plant-eaters have to spend much more of their day eating than do meat-eaters, so you are probably an order of magnitude more likely to see one of these guys with their mouth open than a theropod, but then these guys don’t have totally awesome sharp teeth. Amirite?
Aug 7, 2014 / 181 notes

Getting the armor placed correctly on Scelidosaurus made this skeletal my second-hardest reconstruction of all time (with the first being freakin’ Majungasaurus, which perhaps will be the next in the series). And of course it’s mouth is closed, even though it didn’t really open that wide in the first place.

Bonus fact: Plant-eaters have to spend much more of their day eating than do meat-eaters, so you are probably an order of magnitude more likely to see one of these guys with their mouth open than a theropod, but then these guys don’t have totally awesome sharp teeth. Amirite?

Aug 2, 2014 / 9 notes

ashenwastes said: Hey there! Can you explain to me what the little abdominal bones are in some theropods, such as in the drawing of deinonychus? The little straight bones running perpendicular to the ground at the bottom of the animal's torso, that is. Thanks!

Those are gastralia, aka “belly ribs”. Mammals don’t have them so they seem weird to us today, but having gastralia is the primitive condition for diapsids (the group that includes all lizards, crocs, and dinosaurs including birds). I am simplifying them a bit in the illustration, as in theropods gastralia actually cross in a herringbone pattern at the midline, making them sort of “hinged” and able to widen and narrow the abdomen when they are breathing.

However useful gastralia may have been, they were also lost multiple times. Ornithischian dinosaurs lost them, as did primitive birds. Over on the other side of the diapsid family tree lizards also lost them. 

Hope this helps!

(Most) everyone’s favorite dromaeosaur Deinonychus antirrhopus walking around without it’s mouth open in a never-ending snarl.
Aug 1, 2014 / 332 notes

(Most) everyone’s favorite dromaeosaur Deinonychus antirrhopus walking around without it’s mouth open in a never-ending snarl.

The juvenile T. rex specimen known as “Jane” being seen and not heard.*


*Yes, I know some want this to be Nanotyrannus. I doubt it is (even if Nanotyrannus turns out to be a real thing), but either way it’s a juvenile of a derived tyrannosaurine. And it’s mouth is not snarlroaring all over the place.
Jul 31, 2014 / 211 notes

The juvenile T. rex specimen known as “Jane” being seen and not heard.*

*Yes, I know some want this to be Nanotyrannus. I doubt it is (even if Nanotyrannus turns out to be a real thing), but either way it’s a juvenile of a derived tyrannosaurine. And it’s mouth is not snarlroaring all over the place.

Jul 26, 2014 / 4 notes

dinopediajurassica said: I follow you on deviantART big fand by the way! What inspires you to create such detailed dinosaur creations?

Thanks for following me :) It’s something I’ve been doing for quite literally two decades now, so it’s sort of hard to recall what first inspired me (although the consistency and standardization of Greg Paul’s Predatory Dinosaurs of the World was certainly a major influence). I think initially it was the idea that if you put in the time and effort you could get much closer to what extinct animals looked like. I still enjoy that aspect, but these days I’m more driven by trying to push skeletal reconstructions to be more of a science, and how doing so may open up new fields of inquiry. 

The actual process of making a skeletal reconstruction isn’t really all that “fun”. But just like people that put in the time to learn to play a guitar solo or throw a football at a high level the time and effort prove worth it to me when I get results that justify the time and effort.

Jul 26, 2014 / 13 notes

Anonymous said: How do you feel about the idea that Dracorex, Stygimoloch, and Pachycephalosaurus are the same species at different ages?

The evidence seems to be on the side of them being a single species at different developmental stages. I’ve seen Dracorex specimens with a tiny dome starting to grow, so…

It’s too bad, as I love the names Stygimoloch and Dracorex.

Jul 25, 2014 / 3 notes

Anonymous said: When will the paper description of Utahraptor be released?

Hard to say - it could end up waiting until Jim Kirkland’s new jacket-o-Utahraptors is prepped, in which it could be years. Or it could end up slipping out sooner with what is already known. I’m not an author on the paper, I just did the skeletal, so I don’t have that much insight into the timeline I’m afraid.

Jul 24, 2014 / 393 notes