Deinonychus antirrhopus skeletal reconstruction




Deinonychus recon

The new header on my blog’s first page is a skeletal reconstruction of Deinonychus that I did on a commission a few years back. I studied the osteology for months and got to know the bones really well. I had to make a few compromises to fit in a tubular aircraft steel armature. It was built to be installed outdoors, so it had to be painted with shiny automotive paint in this version.

6 responses to “Deinonychus antirrhopus skeletal reconstruction

    • I am really flattered. Dr. Larry Witmer has some of the dorsal skull elements that show a somewhat different contour than we once thought. I used Ostrom’s monograph as my main source though, figured out some of the 3D stuff on Velociraptor specimens, adn also there is one excellent paper about the palate, suspensorium, and brain case of Dromaeosaurusby Dr. Currie. JVP vol 15 no. 3 pg 576.

  1. Oooooops! Didn’t know it was you Zach. Hope the real Gina’s not upset over this :)As for the PhDs….. Kevin Padian is one, and he hasn’t retracted his views. The other major Pterosaur PhDs I reemmber are Mark Witton and David Unwin… both of whom disagree with Padian. However, Mike Habib (who’s a master, not a PhD) has a similar view to Padian, Paul, etc. which is essentially that there WERE small leg membranes separate from the wings, and a tiny sliver of outer membrane that connected to the wing at a VERY sharp angle (this would explain much of the folding that is responsible for the *apparent* wing-knee attachment)The fact is there are far fewer people researching Pterosaurs in depth than Dinosaurs… Dinosaurs are just more common and get more attention (and funding).And Craig, as for Greg Paul and the other guys that also study other things… I think that is not always a negative. It actually enhances one’s analytical mind and deductive reasoning. Imagine someone who’s spent their whole professional career in museums and researching fossils – their results are prone to be more distanced from reality than those of a researcher who also has studied other disciplines – anatomy and modern animals for instance.Larry Witmer is a first-class anatomist, though he concentrates mostly on dinosaurs with some impressive 3D sinus models (can’t say I agree with his theory on sauropod nostrils – but that’s a different matter altogether).Nearly every PhD paleontologist has backgrounds in other topics – they have to, to even get that far (whether it’s in geology or biology or anatomy). How often I have lamented the fact that Paleontology is not a stand-alone field in its own right!Another point is that despite all their knowledge and research, even PhD’s somtimes make serious anatomical mistakes or invent unsupported theories. Dale Russell made quite a few, as did Edwin Colbert, the veritable king of dino-PhDs of his time. Dong Zhiming has probably contributed more to our knowledge of Asian sauropods more than anyone else alive, yet his papers contain skeletons with dragging tails and other anatomical errors. Some of the best PhD’s in the history of the field only specialized in bone morphology, and have been anything but good artists and anatomists (even Alan Feduccia, with all his flawed conclusions, is nevertheless a PhD!)I DO like Mark Witton’s art, it’s very dynamic and colorful… BUT, I doubt his bat-winged Azdarchids could ever realistically get off the ground with their limbs to restricted like that. Anything that big would have needed a running bipedal takeoff with legs FREE of all restraint, EVEN if it was normally quadrupedal on the ground (which I don’t really dispute in any case – big Pterosaurs were probably too top-heavy to be full-time bipeds.)So when it comes to physical restorations… as long as you have access to the research, or better yet, the source material (as Greg Paul has had) having a PhD isn’t necessarily the deciding factor in the accuracy of your art. The simple logic of anatomy (and often physics) is.And logically, barring any misinterpretation of crumpled fossil wing impressions, ankle-length wings and flying squirrel membranes connecting the legs, are simply awkward and very poorly adapted to any sort of walking – and bad for any sort of takeoff except jumping off a cliff.THEORETICALLY either side has an equal possibility of being correct. But LOGICALLY, having the wings attach to the base of the tail is far more efficient and results in far more agile (and less vulnerable) Pterosaurs, than the bat or flying squirrel model. And evolution always favors the design that best enables your survival.

  2. What tiggered me to ask you for these perpas Nima is your statements “Restorations with wings attached to the legs are as old (and inaccurate) as Owen’s horned Iguanodon.” and “Pterosaurs were mostly bipedal”… These are written as matter of fact, and something we should all know, and thus change our Pterosaur paradigms to incorporate. However the impression I am getting from other people’s following comments (and my readings) is this just one opinion, and not a certainty among Pterosaur studies. This to me is a crucial distinction, and one that MUST be made from now on please (EVERYBODY!, not just you Nima… as again I’m not mean to target you. Just clarify conduct in the comments section). This site is about increasing people’s knowledge about palaeontology not bottlenecking it. To state a single opinion as fact, when in fact it is one of many possibilites, defeats any educational purpose we are aiming for.Especially on a question like the one Peter started off with.I have been prompted to read more on Pterosaurs today (a good thing) due to this, and so far I’m finding where the wing membranes attached is really not overly certain (but I only did a brief search)…If it were the case that there was a definate answer known, I’d welcome it. However I’m going to ask everyone from now on to cite perpas and sources for such definate facts. Also if you know it is only one opinion or theory in the research please state that too ;)So for example, Nima, your reply to my comment was perfect, as you state the possibilities and conflicts in Pterosaur researchers, and state your conclusions as your opinion. So I send you a virtual high five!Nima this was not meant as a personal attack, but a means of ensuring we ALL keep ART Evolved’s quality high.Though I did take a little offense to your stating the obvious”The fact is there are far fewer people researching Pterosaurs in depth than Dinosaurs… Dinosaurs are just more common and get more attention (and funding).”Personally I feel you were talking down to me a little bit like I don’t know this (please read my bio post and you’ll see I worked at the Royal Tyrrell Museum for 4 years… I’m well aware of the realities in Palaeontology research). Could we please keep talking down comments like this out of the dialouge.As everyone who’ll be leaving comments on this site will likely be a palaeo-enthusiast, such statements of the obvious shouldn’t be nessecary.I’m hoping I just misinterupted your intent and inflection, but it come across as a little confrontational (and condescending… but that again is with my “online reading of” filter, and as we know that tends to be towards the more negative).However I’m cool if your cool, and don’t want to make a thing of it.I do want to make a thing of just making sure we’re presenting the science and art of palaeontology as accurately as we can. So we ALL need to mak sure we state what is fact and what is theory from here on in!

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