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Confuciusornis

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Possibly the most famous Mesozoic avialan after Archaeopteryx (and more safely embedded within Avialae), I finally got around to giving Confuciusornis the skeletal reconstruction treatment. This is based mostly on an unpublished specimen I got to photograph and measure in China most of a decade ago, supplemented by the Chiappe et al., monograph. The specimen I examined did not have proximally fused metacarpals - I'm not sure if that's individual variation, ontogenetic, etc., but I left it as-is.

My Patreon supporters got early access to the skeletal, including high resolution files: www.patreon.com/skeletaldrawin…
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© 2017 - 2021 DrScottHartman
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anonymous's avatar
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Thalassophoneus's avatar

Are you sure about its pubis projecting like a spike in this manner? Wouldn't the flesh more probably bridge the pubis and the pygostyle smoothly?

DrScottHartman's avatar

It doesn't seem to do that in Anchiornis, and even in modern (plucked) birds you can see usually see where the pubis ends separate from the pygostyle, despite them being much further retroverted and no longer meeting along the midline so they could swing the guts back there.

SargeantSatan's avatar
What are your thoughts on the diet of Confuciusornis? Piscivore has been talked about a lot considering on specimen seemingly preserved the remains of a fish inside of it, but I'm not sure myself what to think.
hypo-potamus's avatar
What species are this?
DrScottHartman's avatar
It's C. sanctus. Most of the time you can find this information in the skeletal galleries at my website.
Paleo-reptiles's avatar
my kind and wise friend, Scott

first of all, Thank you very much for answering to my questions yesterday.

the documentary name was BBC4- Fossil Wonderlands(2017). Professor Richard Fortey journeys to china for assay feather dinosaurs. 


www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03y6…


en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_…

Paleo-reptiles's avatar
you do not believed to draw tail feather for this bird?
DrScottHartman's avatar
I don't ever draw feathers or fur on my regular skeletals.
9Weegee's avatar
Ive always had a question about your birds.

Why are they always featherless? It makes it really hard to go off of.
DrScottHartman's avatar
The same reason all of my skeletals lack fur, feathers, and skin - in most cases they are not known and cannot be restored to the same degree of accuracy as muscles. I do sometimes do versions with feathers, etc., when commissioned (in fact I'm doing this right now for a museum), but not for my own purposes, as it makes them harder to compare to non-feathered taxa.
9Weegee's avatar
what are the commisioned ones? are they viewable to the public?
DrScottHartman's avatar
The project I was just referring to is for a major museum overhaul. Everyone will be able to see them (who goes), and I may post some of them as-is on my blog, but it'll be another year or so before they are public, sorry.
9Weegee's avatar
oh it's ok. 

also how are skeletals made? I was thinking of making some
DrScottHartman's avatar
The really short version:

I try to either visit the fossils in person to photograph and measure them. Failing this, I generally get another researcher to do the same for me (with commissions this sort of thing happens a lot). It's possible to also use monographs if the photos are of excellent quality and there are reliable measurements published, but that starts to get dicier. Then it's a matter of illustrating each bone to scale, and articulating them. You can do this by hand (Greg Paul has done it this way for decades), or in illustration software that supports layers (like Photoshop, or the Gimp). I spend a lot of time cross-scaling measurements with a calculator to make sure the bones are correctly proportioned themselves, and relative to other bones. Then you have to build up the silhouette, which requires a good knowledge of comparative myology. I recommend dissections, but you can shorten the time to learn that by finding published dissections from other people, and also by reading through the many papers that use EPB to trace muscle origins and insertions in dinosaurs, or whatever other extinct group you are reconstructing.
mark0731's avatar
So it's not an avian?
DrScottHartman's avatar
If "avian" means "member of Aves" then no. But it's a stem avian.
Atlantis536's avatar
The legs sure bend in a weird way.
DrScottHartman's avatar
In what way? They bend in a way similar to modern birds (though with a bit more femoral excursion).
Atlantis536's avatar
One of the legs is shown with the thigh bending this way: / and for some reason it creeps me out.
                                                                                   \
DrScottHartman's avatar
That's the way most thighs bend?
PeteriDish's avatar
Owlbaskingshark's avatar
TheTobinator2145's avatar
The keratin sheaths on the beak would have gone out further and would be nearly parallel to each other when closed (and possibly slightly hook shaped). It would constantly have it's mouth open like this. Otherwise it looks cool!
anonymous's avatar
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