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Spiny and Angry

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By Eurwentala   |   
© 2016 - 2020 Eurwentala
Basal ornithischians were generally small, often covered in spiny dinofuzz, and not at all happy about it.

Archaeoceratops, Heterodontosaurus and Hypsilophodon, all covered in a mix of scales and quill-like dinofuzz based on preserved evidence in Kulindadromeus, Tianyulong and Psittacosaurus. Being small herbivores and/or omnivores in the Mesozoic, these animals probably needed both the porcupine-quills and a nasty attitude to survive.
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9Weegee's avatar
9WeegeeHobbyist General Artist
Why would there be scales in between the feathers? From what ive found, there is really no evidence of scales being in between the feathers
Eurwentala's avatar
EurwentalaProfessional General Artist
What do you mean scales between feathers?  I don't think I depicted any here, but even if I had...

Sure, I have read the claim that they might not have grown on top of each other due to developmental constraints. However, that's based on genetic study on animals that are hundreds of millions of years separated from ornithischian dinosaurs and don't actually have both feathers and scales anymore (birds) or possibly never did (crocodylians). Evolution happens. Living birds, for example, often have feathers sprouting from between the scale-like structures in their legs, though technically they are not scales, but derived feathers. We are basically using bird genetics to make claims about dinosaur appearance that can't even predict what the actual living ones look like. I'd take that with a big grain of salt.

Another thing is that Kulindradromeus actually has what seems to be feathers growing literally from the middle of a scale! It's unclear what the developmental story behind that is (are they actually feathers, scales, or neither), but the fossil quite clearly shows somewhat rectangular "scales", each sprouting a bunch of hair-like "feathers" from the middle. If that didn't look like scales between feathers, I don't know what does. You can see the photos on the paper here:…

Even without either of these lines of argument, nothing prevents feathers and scales from growing in close proximity, but not between each other. Feathers, being rather long, would grow to partially cover the scales next to them, creating what looks like scales partially obscured by feathers and creating a smooth gradient, as you can see on the neck of my Heterodontosaurus here.
9Weegee's avatar
9WeegeeHobbyist General Artist
Well said. Your comment needs to be recognized
Eurwentala's avatar
EurwentalaProfessional General Artist
Thanks! Maybe I'll write a blog post on this some day. I just need to reread all the relevant literature, which is no small task. :D
VG5006's avatar
VG5006Student Digital Artist
Somone call the exorcist!!
DinoMarioZilla's avatar
DinoMarioZillaHobbyist General Artist
Good job! I totally picture these guys as the baboons and mandrills of the Mesozoic, heh heh heh
tascalo's avatar
tascaloHobbyist Photographer
Very nice, Maija
Pterosaur-Freak's avatar
This is why I love small ornithischians. Those palpebral bones are just the best things ever.
grisador's avatar
This concept is genius !
TheBattyCrow's avatar
TheBattyCrowHobbyist General Artist
Ahh, the small ornithiscians have always been fun favorites! And it's interesting to speculate what they might have looked like. I know Heterodontosaurus has always had people scratching their heads :)
Here, they all look rather ticked off :)
olofmoleman's avatar
olofmoleman Digital Artist
Very nice.
vasix's avatar
vasixHobbyist Digital Artist
Awww, those angry little faces just make them look cuter 
Tiamatus's avatar
Awesome work!
Viergacht's avatar
ViergachtProfessional General Artist
Hahah, cute!
dsivis's avatar
Running or burrowing works too!
TheAsianGuyLOL's avatar
TheAsianGuyLOLHobbyist Digital Artist
Amazing job!
Tarturus's avatar
TarturusHobbyist Digital Artist
Best not to mess with these guys.
CultistCarl's avatar
CultistCarlStudent Traditional Artist
I liek this alot man!!! omg so nice!
Hyrotrioskjan's avatar
HyrotrioskjanProfessional General Artist
Interesting idea about their attitude =D 
AGmantheAG's avatar
AGmantheAGHobbyist Artist
This is great!
JurassicJacob's avatar
This is amazing! As TrilobiteCannibal has said, I love the Archaeoceratops!
TheDubstepAddict's avatar
TheDubstepAddictHobbyist Traditional Artist
HUBLERDON's avatar
HUBLERDONHobbyist General Artist
The quills look EPIC!
TrilobiteCannibal's avatar
TrilobiteCannibalHobbyist Traditional Artist
Awesome, I love the archaeoceratops
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