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THE EPITOMIC DROMAEOSAURS by Sketchy-raptor THE EPITOMIC DROMAEOSAURS by Sketchy-raptor
Deinonychus is an average sized dromaeosaur from Early Cretaceous (115-108 mya) North America, and represents the changing ideas about dinosaurs over the last few decades (the dinosaur “renaissance”), being one of the first dinosaurs to shun the outdated, sluggish image of dinosaurs that had become so popular. On average, Deinonychus was about 3 metres long, and shared many features with modern birds, rekindling the theory that dinosaurs and birds shared close kinship back in the 1960s. The famous, curved second foot claw, the long grasping hands and rows of serrated teeth combined with a fast metabolism and active lifestyle would have made Deinonychus a very efficient predator. Even if it was a mainly solitary animal, it is likely Deinonychus was capable of cooperative hunting in groups to bring down much larger prey (supported by the discovery of several Deinonychus skeletons surrounding the skeleton of the large iguanodontid Tenontosaurus). Often cited as the main inspiration behind the Jurassic Park “raptors”, Deinonychus represents the typical, generic body plan followed by most dromaeosaurs, (the epitomic “raptor” dinosaur one might say).

The true Velociraptor is actually a much smaller animal of about 2 metres in length from Late Cretaceous (75-71 mya) Asia, but shares many morphological traits with its older cousin, leading many to group Deinonychus in the same sub-clade of the dromaeosauridae as Velociraptor, the velociraptorinae. Other than the overall size, Velociraptor can easily be distinguished from Deinonychus by a narrower, shallower snout, and less obviously, a less curved “killing claw” and a slightly less robust body build. Although similar animals, Velociraptor’s more desert-like environment may have led to a distinctively different lifestyle to the larger Deinonychus, but it is hard to tell. We know that at least on occasion, Velociraptor hunted dinosaurs too, due to the famous “fighting dinosaurs” specimen, in which a Velociraptor was found locked in a death battle with the ceratopsian Protoceratops. It is likely that as well as hunting dinosaurs, both Deinonychus and Velociraptor would have hunted small animals such as early mammals and small reptiles. Both animals are very well represented from rather complete specimens in the fossil record, with Velociraptor being known from over a dozen skeletons.

Bambiraptor is a dromaeosaurid from 72 mya Montana. This small critter, known from a single very complete skeleton has been labelled under many genera (surprisingly even Velociraptor), and although its validity is uncertain, all are agreed that it’s a young, juvenile animal. One of the most popular ideas is that Bambiraptor is the young of the lesser known dromaeosaurid Saurornitholestes.
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With larger, purely terrestrial feathered dinosaurs, for some reason I’m always a little sceptical about illustrating them with very “poofed” out feathers like we see in many modern birds, and although I have opted for shorter, more generic looking feathers, I think both animals in the illustration have a suitably bird like appearance. The feathering doesn’t really take inspiration from any modern birds in particular unlike my tyrannosaur depictions, and I imagine colouring the Deinonychus in a grey/blue fashion with dark black highlights and an off white underbelly, whilst colouring the Velociraptor in an almost white beige colour with slightly darker, more brownish stripes.

I’m rather happy with the sense of motion in the Deinonychus; I wanted to draw the animal in a slow, mid-walk pose rather than sprinting. I’m definitely improving a lot with wing shape and feather texture, and this is personally one of my favourite reconstructions along with my Teratophoneus. It was completely unintentional, but the way I’ve restored the feathers on top of the head has made the face look pointier than expected.
I drew the Velociraptor in a more agitated looking pose than the Deinonychus because in my head, I’ve always liked to think of Velociraptor as the annoying and yappy younger sibling of the cool collected Deinonychus. Not exactly a scientific viewpoint I know, but something I’ve always found amusing.

There’s not much to say about the Bambiraptor, she was drawn as space filler really, and I gave her the fuzzy down of a young bird.
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Main references:
Scott Hartman’s :iconscotthartman: skeletal drawings
Avian muscle diagrams

Comments and faves appreciated
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:icondurbed:
Durbed Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2013
Great job! :)
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:iconpilsator:
pilsator Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Very nice work!
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:iconcitricdino:
CitricDino Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2013  Student Artist
These are simply Amazing!
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:iconsketchy-raptor:
Sketchy-raptor Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2013  Student General Artist
Thanks, I appreciate it!
Reply
:icondinobirdman:
DinoBirdMan Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2013  Student Artist
I think these feathered raptors are the best!:)
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:iconsketchy-raptor:
Sketchy-raptor Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2013  Student General Artist
Thank you!
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:icondinobirdman:
DinoBirdMan Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2013  Student Artist
You're welcome!;)
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:iconcaimryo:
CaimRyo Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2013   General Artist
beautiful and nice details, especially heads and arms! great work! :)
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:iconsketchy-raptor:
Sketchy-raptor Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2013  Student General Artist
Thanks very much!
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:iconcaimryo:
CaimRyo Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2013   General Artist
you're welcome! :)
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:iconewilloughby:
EWilloughby Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2013  Professional General Artist
Beautiful!
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:iconsketchy-raptor:
Sketchy-raptor Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2013  Student General Artist
Thank you! That's quite the compliment.
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