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Torvosaurus by nemo-ramjet Torvosaurus by nemo-ramjet
I have a few hunches about dinosaurs;

1-) I'm thinking that the thick necks of large theropods supported far more muscle and meat than commonly imagined.

2-) I imagine that most dinosaurs, especially the "reptilian" ones, bore elaborate skin flaps and display structures on their heads. I have no evidence for this, but look at just about any living animal, and then see their skeletons. There's far more to soft tissue than most reconstructions admit.

3-) Dinosaurs, like real animals, sustained injuries throughout their lifetimes. (look at the hand!)

4-) Some dinosaurs may have had their upper leg "buried" inside their bodies. This is the case with most birds and mammals today.

All these "hunches" have been realized in this fun drawing.
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:icondinopithecus:
Dinopithecus Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2014
Just wondering and excuse me for any potential ignorance, but the "mound" on top of the neck is a skin flap right?
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:iconsirian87:
Sirian87 Featured By Owner May 19, 2014
It looks awesome. I like how the head and neck came out especially. It looks like a classic, lizard-like rendition of theropods. 
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:iconfredthedinosaurman:
FredtheDinosaurman Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2014  Student General Artist
Cool. The Torvo reminds e of a Great White :)
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:icondynojackal19:
DYnoJackal19 Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2013
I totally agree with your "hunches."
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:iconirkenarmada1:
Irkenarmada1 Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Very cool work here. I imagine that large theropods expressed as much variation (even in similarly-shaped forms) as there is between a lion and a tiger. Even though their skeletal details are nigh-identical, they look very different and distinctive in real life. This Torvosaurus, though it is a stand-alone piece, could be accompanied by related forms (megalosaurs) to illustrate this kind of variety.
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:iconcarcharael:
Carcharael Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2013  Professional Artist
I agree with you, and I really need All Yesterdays book!
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:iconirkenarmada1:
Irkenarmada1 Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is good work. I'd like to see your take on Spinosaurus because of this.
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:iconrajaharimau98:
RajaHarimau98 Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Very cool! I like thinking of birds of paradise; we wouldn't know of the outlandish displays they have if we had only skeletons; dinosaurs had to be the same.
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:iconnemo-ramjet:
nemo-ramjet Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2012
Imagine what weird displays dinosaurs must have had...
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:iconosmatar:
Osmatar Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2011   Traditional Artist
I largely agree with everything you're saying here. We are probably missing a lot of important soft-tissue details that would have made the species recognizable in real life. I'm immediately reminded of the possible Tarbosaurus wattle.

I've mused about the contours of the upper leg as well. However, birds don't move their femurs to the extent that at least some non-avian dinosaurs would have, and in some mammals the hind leg is clearly distinct from the torso, so I'm not sure what would be the closest match to dinosaurs. I've been trying to find some kind of a realistic middle ground myself, but I really wish there was a way to know what it really looked like.

About the injuries though, usually paleoillustrations are used to showcase the typical anatomy of a taxon, and throwing in too extensive injuries can sabotage that information content somewhat. Even though I imagine some abelisaurs and maybe tyrannosaurs as well lost their tiny arms in intraspecific combat, I think there's good reason to illustrate them with both, unless you mean to draw attention to that detail.
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:iconnemo-ramjet:
nemo-ramjet Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2011
The upper leg is a complicated issue - perhaps how visible it was varied within families, and even in single species (as in fat vs. thin)
I generally don't agree with reconstructions that show the leg separate until the top of the hip, but then again "burying" eerything doesn't seem to be right either.

About injuries, one should also look into tumors, (like these poor devils, [link]) or broken-healed bones, especially in the tail region. Of course, I agree that these should be omitted in species-descriptive illustrations.
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:iconwildartguy:
wildartguy Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2011  Professional General Artist
Absolutely agree about the skin appendages, been thinking the same myself, look at the majority of large birds - Turkeys, Emu, Cassowary, Ibis etc. Lots of Wattles, combs, coloured skin patches, all sorts of weird stuff going on, simply putting skin over the bones just can't be correct. Of course the alternative is to guess which would be likely just as wrong, but certain educated guesses can be made about colours, and who knows, maybe one they'll find a T-rex with fossilised skin impressions of Wattles and skin and beaks etc, even fossilised pigments are possible, and more Fossils are being uncovered now than ever before
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:iconnemo-ramjet:
nemo-ramjet Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2011
I guess a majority of dinos were actually quite bland - but every once often there must have been some quite spectacularly weird ones.
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:icondeinonychusempire:
DeinonychusEmpire Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Any dinosaur is only as bland as a paleoartist reconstructs it to be. ;)
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:iconchimpeetah:
Chimpeetah Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2011
You know, it seems the idea that dinosaurs may have looked like more than we imagine seems like it will gain popularity. the new US special, Dinosaur Revolution, this Sunday on Discovery Channel at 9, shows prehistoric animals in a different light. They animals are beautifully decorated, the more "reptilian" species have bumps and scales, dewlaps are exaggerated, and so on. It also goes to show more sides to the animals, rather than just sleep, eat, run, die, fight, it goes more into the emotions of animals, or their stories. I wonder what's your thought on it, I'm excited to see it, finally a dinosaur special that doesn't just treat dinosaurs (and animals from prehistory) than just museum recreations.
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:iconnemo-ramjet:
nemo-ramjet Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2011
I just saw parts of the show, it's spectacular!
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:iconchimpeetah:
Chimpeetah Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2011
It is ! There are intentional humorous bits (though mature can be quite funny) but the portrayal of the animals is quite something. The Allosaurus has to be my favorite just for the fact they feature such a severly deformed animal in it's natural habitat.
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:iconthearchosaurqueen:
TheArchosaurQueen Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is an extremely awesome way to represent dinosaurs. Would you mind if I show this and your Therizinosaurus in my Jurassic Park group [link] :)?

You are invited to join if you like. Its a project group I made with the goal of using Jurassic Park elements as a catalyst to try exposing and popularizing more realistic dinosaurs and other less known animals related to dinosaurs. I use a story I’m writing to do most of this, while I also try catering to open-minded Jurassic Park fans and more “in the know” dinosaur buffs alike. And if your not interested in the story aspect so much, I also feature artwork from supporters/friends that do very cutting edge illustrations that I show in the group for points of reference. So I simply ask that you give it a look :aww:.
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:iconnemo-ramjet:
nemo-ramjet Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2011
Sure, you are free to show it to anyone you'd like...
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:iconthearchosaurqueen:
TheArchosaurQueen Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Okay... :).
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:iconethanizabunny:
ethanizabunny Featured By Owner Aug 11, 2011
i just discovered that you are mentioned in one place on wikipedia! on the alien invasion page in the alien occupation section it mentions your book all tomorrows. pretty badass
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:iconfelipe-elias:
felipe-elias Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2011  Professional General Artist
Very good points. It's nice to see refreshed interpretations different from that so many "mammal-like anorexic dinosaurs". I often read comments criticizing the inclusion of dermal spikes or dewlaps or bright colors in dinosaur reproductions, arguing that they are exaggerations. I'm sure these same people completely unaware about the diversity and beauty of structures displayed by many species of reptiles and birds - for me a much more appropriate source of information than those usually used. A truly absurd is when they show us a large theropod as a bad plagiarism of a predatory mammal, supported by thin legs like those potato dolls with sticks as limbs that I used to play when I was a kid.
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:iconnemo-ramjet:
nemo-ramjet Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2011
I see that you are trying to break these stereotypes as well - especially with your reconstructions of spinosaurs, they look really great!
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:iconfelipe-elias:
felipe-elias Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2011  Professional General Artist
Yep. =D
Thanks!
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:icondin0scarex:
Din0scarex Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2011
In the neck... I think this is some kind of shark fin.
I find chameleon's eyes are verry odd, but amazing
I see some chameleon's skulls and there's nothing that I can see that can told me that could have theyr special eyes.
I the same way there's nothing that can say that Torvosaurus and any other dinosaur couldn't (at least T-rex doesn't need it, I think)
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:iconnemo-ramjet:
nemo-ramjet Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2011
Chameleon eyes, who knows? Perhaps not dinosaurs, but weird climbing reptiles known as "Megalancosaurs" could have possessed them.

Then again, Chameleon eyes evolved for a very specific reason - to scan a complex environment without having to move the head in a very slow creature. Dinos with similar anatomies may have possessed such features.
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:icontassietyger:
tassietyger Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2011  Student General Artist
Yeah, I always suspected theropods, especially the large ones, had throat pouches (like a weird cross between storks and pelicans) to carry bits and peices of foot that were saved and give them to their offspring. As for the upper limbs being "buried", it makes sense now.

One cautionary advice though, is that sometimes we can "exaggerate" the animals. True, as :iconbullet-magnet: mentions, we can't rely on the bones to help with an idea of what the animal might have looked like (and for the sake of giving my own example, if you look at the skeleton of a sealion, without ever seening a live one, you were to think it was some sort of creature of the land, a bear. This not only adds the potential unnecessary species, but a false impression of lifestyle). But I have seen people make sauropods look like alien giraffes, seen ceratopsian's sheild being "buried" under the neck mass, pterosaurs that look like angler fish... I think you get the point, and that we have to try to be realistic while filling thoose "appropriate creative choices" for our lively subjects.
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:iconnemo-ramjet:
nemo-ramjet Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2011
You are very right in your cautioning - there is always the risk of exaggeration when speculating about soft tissues.
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:icondin0scarex:
Din0scarex Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2011
who prehistoric animal's squeleton you think looks like a sealion's skull?

well, I think Lystrosaurus (and i looks like a walrus), but some people say they lived on deserts.
Desmostylus's, Paleoparadoxia's, Ambulocetus's, squeletons looks like sealion's. More rigorous studies to the squeletons can say some true about.
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:iconvasix:
vasix Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yes, well, the neck thing, you could be right-in fact, even the necks of coelurosaurs, particularly deinonychosaurs, have been bulked up now and they have been given a rather straight back profile, just like the way that Anchiornis has been found.

I thin k that that's the case nowadays which I follow a lot in raptors and any other maniraptoiran to vbe honest-even Oviraptors. It confirms this bulky neck feature in the featherd dinos, and yes, the mega theropods would've been having extrememly fat and powerful necks to be able to drive in the attack and yeah, dinos werem ost certainly ornate!!

In fact, I myself once had a thing for doing extremely flamboyant, stripy sauropods with lots of spikes and skin frills, with the armor of Mendozasaurus and Macrogrgyophosaurs reachign an extravagant proportion (thansk to inspirations by Lui Rey).
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:iconnemo-ramjet:
nemo-ramjet Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2011
I guess some small dinos could have had conventional hose-like necks, but even with them, there is the possibility of the s-shaped neck getting buried in a rounded contour of feathers.
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:iconvasix:
vasix Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yes, well, anyhow, as I said, the Anchiornis discovery proves it....the horse-neck is the hadrosaur new standard design-perhaps we might see them in the small ornithopods, or maybe a lot more muscle in sauropods.,..that'll be nice, eh?
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:iconnemo-ramjet:
nemo-ramjet Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2011
I think ornithopods were really muscular, chunky critters. But sauropods could have birdier necks, I'm not sure...
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:iconvasix:
vasix Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yes, ornithopods were the low-slung bunch of the whole rest....
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:iconwhalewithlegs:
whalewithlegs Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2011  Student General Artist
"Some dinosaurs may have had their upper leg "buried" inside their bodies. This is the case with most birds and mammals today."

I'm pretty sure I understand what you're referring to with birds, but I thought I'd ask which mammals you're referring to. I can't think of any!
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:iconnemo-ramjet:
nemo-ramjet Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2011
Mice, voles, weasels, etc. most small mammals have this trait. So do some antelopes, large pigs, etc. In mammals, the leg is not as "buried" as it is in birds.
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:iconwhalewithlegs:
whalewithlegs Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2011  Student General Artist
Ohhhh, ok, I see .. like, buried up to the elbows, roughly. Unrelated, but some very strange mouse pictures I found from looking for hairless mice to see the 'buried' arm anatomy!: [link] [link] [link]
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:iconnemo-ramjet:
nemo-ramjet Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2011
Wow - I added them to my portfolio of strange animal pics. Amazing what selective breeding can do...
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:iconwhalewithlegs:
whalewithlegs Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2011  Student General Artist
Yeah! Hey, have you read the book 'Shrinking the Cat' by any chance (it's about selective breeding & domestication)? In the chapter about apples, the author talks about looking for the origin of the apple plant, and how he found in the wild an apple tree that had white fruit, because the skin was translucent and you could see the white apple flesh through the skin.
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:iconpavel-lishin:
pavel-lishin Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2011
I wish you'd update more often!
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:iconnemo-ramjet:
nemo-ramjet Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2011
Thanks! I wish I had more time to draw!
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:iconbullet-magnet:
Bullet-Magnet Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2011
Do you remember that fossil they found with bone cancer?

I think with most reconstructions, except for fun like this one, palaeontologists are unwilling to include anything without direct supporting evidence, besides colouring. Hence the relative blandness.

A comparison I like to make is with the genus Panthera. We (as in, everyone who isn't a specialist) don't tend to differentiate species within a dinosaur genus, and we wouldn't recognise the differences. Most people might not tell a tiger skeleton from a jaguar, but alive and intact the four panthers are so different, in colour, pattern and behaviour. You just can't tell that from dinosaur fossils.
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:iconnemo-ramjet:
nemo-ramjet Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2011
Your last paragraph reflects my thoughts exactly. Just by knowing the limitations in our methodology in paleo, one can tell that entire worlds' worth of details remain in the dark.
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:iconcommander-salamander:
commander-salamander Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Damn right about the buried leg in my opinion. And I am all for flaps, dewlaps and dongles. No more "wrong" than any other reconstruction.
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:iconnemo-ramjet:
nemo-ramjet Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2011
Heheh, thanks!
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:iconthewingedshadow:
TheWingedShadow Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
The colouring reminds me on my pet rats, and was the reason why I clicked on it! :D
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:iconnemo-ramjet:
nemo-ramjet Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2011
Now that you say it, it looks weirdly like a big, bipedal rat when viewed in a small size.
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:iconthewingedshadow:
TheWingedShadow Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
'xactly. :D
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:iconbrad-ysaurus:
Brad-ysaurus Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2011
Is the peak on the upper surface of the neck supposed to be a display sail, or the extra "meat" alluded to in the first point? I don't think the neck looks unusually muscular, but I'm reading the upper peak of it as a display sail.

I have my doubts about this restoration. If any old theropod could have a weird soft-tissue sail on its back, what would be the point of any of them having enlarged neural spines like Concavenator?
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