Tetrapod Zoology

Dinosauroid cave art discovered

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It started with a visit to the zoo. Those remarkable African birds, the ground hornbills, got me thinking about Dale Russell’s hypothetical thought-experiment (Russell 1987, Russell & Seguin 1982): what if non-avian dinosaurs (specifically, troodontid maniraptorans) had not bought the farm at the end of the Cretaceous but, instead, had continued to evolve? One thing led to another and I ended up both disagreeing with Russell’s concept of a human-like erect-bodied short-faced flat-footed tailless dinosauroid, and speculating about what – in my view – a ‘real’ dinosauroid might look like…

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My description proved inspirational to Nemo Ramjet who, I am honoured to say, produced the new-look dinosauroid Avisapiens saurotheos (cropped image at left), a post-Cretaceous big-brained maniraptoran that conforms with my ideas. On a parallel Earth where theropod dinosaurs have followed a similar evolutionary path to hominids, this is the result.

As you’ll note from the links – and as you’ll know if you’re a follower of Tetrapod Zoology anyway – all of this is old hat. The news is that Nemo has taken this one step further. I won’t spoil the surprise by recounting all the details, but highlights include the use of spit and charcoal, of feathers and twigs gripped between Nemo’s teeth, and the rendition of the black thing, nemesis of Avisapiens. Once more Nemo, I am honoured. Long may you daub your naked body in paint and run around making bird noises.

Refs – –

Russell, D. A. 1987. Models and paintings of North American dinosaurs. In Czerkas, S. J. & Olson, E. C. (eds) Dinosaurs Past and Present, Volume I. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County/University of Washington Press (Seattle and Washington), pp. 114-131.

– . & Seguin, R. 1982. Reconstruction of the small Cretaceous theropod Stenonychosaurus inequalis and a hypothetical dinosauroid. Syllogeus 37, 1-43.

Comments

  1. #1 Zach Miller
    March 6, 2007

    That’s too cool for words.

  2. #2 Monado
    March 6, 2007

    This is amazing. I’m linking to it!

  3. #3 Emile
    March 7, 2007

    Another fantastic piece of speculative biology. Makes you wonder how those animals live, how they communicate, what they do in their spare time, how they hunt…

  4. #4 John R. Hutchinson
    March 7, 2007

    MMM the new dinosauroid looks turkeylicious. I’d eat it. Fois gras, anyone?

  5. #5 johannes
    March 7, 2007

    Amazing. Especially the “black thing”. In an alternative timeline without a K/T extinction, you would ecpect the stereotypical Tyrannosaur, but this is obviously something different, being quadrupedal to start with. A ziphodont crocodile, maybe? Or a stagodont that has grown very large and very nasty (it seems to be covered in hair or some other filament)? Or an ornithischian that started as a pig/entelodont-style omnivore – psittacosaurus and/or protoceratops may be a model – and ended up as a predator (it seems to have psittacosaur-style quills on its tail)?

  6. #6 Raymond
    March 7, 2007

    Entelodonts _were_ carnivores, at least in the case of *Archeotherium* IIRC.

  7. #7 Neil
    March 7, 2007

    This ‘what if dinosaurs didnt die out’ keeps poppin up in the last week. First watching the ‘Super Mario Bros’ movie for the 1st time in years (and remembering WHY i hadn’t! lol), then horizon advertise the episode on next tues called ‘my pet dinosaur’ about how humans would act if dinosaurs had died out (Slightly unscientific as it would have probaly would have made the odds of us evolving as we are pretty low! And they say horizon is dumbing down! lol) and now this blog.
    Funny how things happen

  8. #8 Poseidon
    March 7, 2007

    I ran across Nemo’s new piece yesterday, and complimented him on it. Bravo for bringing it to a wider audience!

  9. #9 Brian
    March 7, 2007

    Definitely the most amazing thing I’ve seen all day. I remember watching some dinosaur documentaries as a kid during the 80’s/early 90’s and seeing Russell’s alien-like dinosaur man. The improbable creature seemed to have more to do with UFO abductions than scientific extrapolation.

    Speaking of “alternate realities,” this post reminds me of some Dougal Dixon books I read a while back; I think they were entitled After Man and The New Dinosaurs. Although they were pure fantasy, they were certainly fun to read, and the Dixon’s nightmare image of bipedal, predatory bats will forever be stuck in my mind (I think a diorama of the creatures were created at one time and featured on one of the Gary Owens dinosaur specials).

  10. #10 Zach Miller
    March 7, 2007

    Dougal Dixon had another book too: Man after Man, a Bradbury-esque vision of humankind’s future (should current trends continue). The thing I never liked about Dixon’s tomes were that he kind of superimposed prehistoric reptiles over current animals, like his pterosaur giraffe, ornithopod whale, or coelurosaur flamingo. He also seems to have an unhealthy obsession with ant-eaters and aye-ayes, as all three of his books have variations on that theme.
    He also doesn’t do a good job of sticking with end-Cretaceous animals. Brachiosaurs? Stegosaurs? Megalosaurus? Get with the program, Dixon! I also didn’t like that his “new” dinosaurs had hair (give ‘em feathers). “After Man” was his best work, although so many of the animals looked like Muppets…

  11. #11 Tim Morris
    March 8, 2007

    I wonder how their society would work in a more modern political context?

    -Pardon me for the tangent/rant here-

    It made me think of how theropod-like Brian Froud’s Skesis characters were, however vaguely, in appearance and behavior, minus the english speech. The dialogue was recorded in a “Dark crystal” language originally, then dubbed with voice actors, I think that’s what Froud and Henson wanted for the film, originally.

    He (Brain Froud) described the Skeksis himself as “Part retile, part predatory bird, part dragon…”. That’s quite an analogous, if vague phrase, to how people generally think of small theropods.

    I think the black creature in the dinosophont pics is probably a theropod of some sort, maybe an abelisaur.

    But who knows, maybe it’s some sort of maniraptor (judging from the tail looking like that of Avisapiens), or perhaps a revered dinosaurian (ceratopsian??) “Auroch”?

  12. #12 Darren Naish
    March 8, 2007

    Zach: on Dougal Dixon and his creatures, please see my previous post on speculative zoology. Note also that a copy of After Man is visible in the banner at top of page.

  13. #13 David Marjanovi?
    March 8, 2007

    The thing I never liked about Dixon’s tomes

    This is what you need: http://spec.int.tc

    To quote the contributor Émile Moacdieh: “Come, come to the dork side of the farce.”

    Entelodonts _were_ carnivores, at least in the case of *Archeotherium* IIRC.

    AFAIK that’s an exaggeration. However, especially the juveniles did clearly eat much meat.

  14. #14 Andrea Cau
    March 8, 2007

    The Nemo’s idea is great! But…is the cave art a necessary step in the cultural evolution of the new (and more realistic) dinosauroid ?
    From an archosaurian point of view, I consider dance and music as more probable espressions… ( I remember a percussionist black cacatua, but, I’m sorry, I cannot say more…)

  15. #15 Zach Miller
    March 8, 2007

    Oh my Darwin. Specworld is the coolest website on the interweb. *bookmarks* *loses track of time*

  16. #16 Raymond
    March 8, 2007

    -David-

    http://www.douglasfossils.com/multi_kill.html

    Doesn’t mean they didn’t chew roots and forbs for water and nutrients.My cats and dogs happily did both while terrorizing the back woodlot.

    Come,come to the Dork Side of the Farce;)

  17. #17 Zach Miller
    March 8, 2007

    Is there any way I can help with the art of Specworld? I notice that a lot of the pictures need revising, and some animals are simply not there.

  18. #18 Raymond
    March 8, 2007

    -Zach

    Sure, just join the yahoogroup,
    “Dinosaur Mailing List Killed Threads”, it’s been
    the primary forum for Specworld discussion more or less over the past 6 years.

  19. #19 David Marjanovi?
    March 8, 2007

    Go to the Latest page. It says how to join the mailing list.

  20. #20 Steve Bodio
    March 9, 2007

    I would like to see more Darren- Nemo collaborations!

  21. #21 Colugo
    March 22, 2007

    I went to Nemo Ramjet’s site and looked around. In my humble opinion, as someone with a longtime interest in art history – including fantasy art – his work is great. I’m reminded of the early work of Ernst Fuchs.

  22. #22 BlueMako
    May 1, 2007

    “and the Dixon’s nightmare image of bipedal, predatory bats will forever be stuck in my mind (I think a diorama of the creatures were created at one time and featured on one of the Gary Owens dinosaur specials).”
    It was, I remember seeing it as a kid. Freaked me out good back then, too…

  23. #23 Daniel J. Knight
    February 23, 2009

    Posted by: John R. Hutchinson | March 7, 2007 10:12 AM:

    “Amazing. Especially the “black thing”. In an alternative timeline without a K/T extinction, you would ecpect the stereotypical Tyrannosaur, but this is obviously something different, being quadrupedal to start with. A ziphodont crocodile, maybe? Or a stagodont that has grown very large and very nasty (it seems to be covered in hair or some other filament)? Or an ornithischian that started as a pig/entelodont-style omnivore – psittacosaurus and/or protoceratops may be a model – and ended up as a predator (it seems to have psittacosaur-style quills on its tail)?”

    Wow, how sad and pathetic that any of you think this is “science”. You should have been honest Naish and used the url “psuedoscienceblogs.deluded”

  24. #24 David Marjanović
    February 23, 2009

    It isn’t science, and nobody has ever claimed it to be. It is speculation which is based on science.

    BTW, it’s pseudo-, not psuedo-. Only happens to be pronounced the same way in English.

  25. #25 Hai~Ren
    February 25, 2009

    Considering the content of Daniel J. Knight’s blog, his accusations of Tetrapod Zoology being pseudoscientific and deluded seem particularly ironic.

  26. #26 johannes
    February 25, 2009

    Daniel,

    this is art. It’s fictional. Like David said, it is BASED on science, but unlike the creationist stuff on your blog, it doesn’t claim TO BE science. Has nobody ever teached you the difference between fiction and reality?

    BTW this was my original comment, not John R Hutchinson’s.

  27. #27 Daniel Knight
    September 5, 2009

    “Considering the content of Daniel J. Knight’s blog, his accusations of Tetrapod Zoology being pseudoscientific and deluded seem particularly ironic.

    Posted by: Hai~Ren | February 25, 2009 8:02 AM”

    Since when were your speculations, your feelings, evidence let alone scientific? Moron.

    “Daniel,

    this is art. It’s fictional. Like David said, it is BASED on science, but unlike the creationist stuff on your blog, it doesn’t claim TO BE science. Has nobody ever teached you the difference between fiction and reality?”

    Posted by: johannes | February 25, 2009 10:52 AM

    Yes fagtard I have been programmed to tell the difference between truth and lies by God, just like you, only you, an arrogant hatemonger reject God, the source of truth, the source of what is real, and therefore you can’t get the definitions of evidence, truth, lies, or reality right hardly:

    YOU EVIL HATEFUL CONNIVING SICK SUPER MORON, FOR THE LAST TIME YOU EVIL IDIOT:

    Whatever you say is true because you said so. Sound familiar hypocrite? And has no one ever TAUGHT you correct grammar you assuming moron? Moron: learn the difference between evidence and a mere claim. Once again trapped-in-circular-reasoning man: feelings alone are not scientific evidence that the Bible is not true. You’re a moron and always will be so long as you thing using caps and insistence makes you right. Seeya you stupid idiot who wasted my time with your dumb do do ignorant ranting. Moron.

    God bless you evil moron.

  28. #28 David Marjanović
    September 5, 2009

    Yes fagtard

    LOL. Are you a Republican senator or something? :-D

    And has no one ever TAUGHT you correct grammar you assuming moron?

    As you could have figured out from his name, johannes’ first language is German. This, you see, is the Internet. You are not in Kansas anymore.

    Besides, if I may let the topic drift from grammar to orthography, you need to use a lot more commas. There’s one missing in the sentence I just quoted, for instance. Have fun finding out where!

    I have been programmed to tell the difference between truth and lies by God, just like you,

    Evidence for either of these claims?

    only you, an arrogant hatemonger[,] reject God

    Tell me one thing: do you reject Superman?

    God bless you evil moron.

    Cute. Just cute.

  29. #29 Darren Naish
    September 5, 2009

    Daniel Knight: banned for life. What a colossal douche.

  30. #30 David Marjanović
    September 6, 2009

    Awwwww. I wanted to know if he rejects Superman. I fear I’ll have to wade into his blog sometime…

  31. #31 Darren Naish
    September 6, 2009

    Sorry to spoil your fun, but why care what he thinks? I know I don’t, and I don’t see why I should put up with objectionable fucktards such as him on my blog. Speaking of which, ‘Peter Mihalda’ has a new IP address, as he made it through my filter the other day, this time under his former ‘Jean-Pierre d’Amour’ pseudonym.

  32. #32 David Marjanović
    September 6, 2009

    I don’t care what he thinks. I want to play “Dance, trollboy! Dance!”.

    :-)

  33. #33 Footy
    September 14, 2009

    Hello all! Just FYI, Daniel Knight has been banned all over the internet for his rants…he’s rather notorious…that psycho creationist blog is just the beginning. Help us to keep an eye on him though…he’s also after very young teen girls..aged 10-12. He’s been banned from various teen dating sites for harassment of them (he’s in his 30s). If you see him around, report him.

  34. #34 David Marjanović
    September 14, 2009

    Wow. Over on Pharyngula we used to have another pedophiliac YEC. (Pretty clearly another.) Is that common or something?

  35. #35 Chris
    November 13, 2009

    Hey! Your links are dead now! I’d liked to have seen them. Is the material existent elsewhere?

  36. #36 David McCabe
    February 24, 2010

    Here is Nemo Ramjet’s gallery on deviantart, and an interesting page from his site that is still online.

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