Shop Forum More Submit  Join Login
About Digital Art / Professional Harry WilsonMale/Australia Recent Activity
Deviant for 8 Years
Needs Core Membership
Statistics 304 Deviations 3,902 Comments 110,969 Pageviews
×

Newest Deviations

Sperm Whale Size by Harry-the-Fox Sperm Whale Size :iconharry-the-fox:Harry-the-Fox 38 38 Shantungosaurus Size Comparison by Harry-the-Fox Shantungosaurus Size Comparison :iconharry-the-fox:Harry-the-Fox 42 21 Livyatan Melvillei vs Megalodon by Harry-the-Fox Livyatan Melvillei vs Megalodon :iconharry-the-fox:Harry-the-Fox 59 32 Livyatan Melvillei Size by Harry-the-Fox Livyatan Melvillei Size :iconharry-the-fox:Harry-the-Fox 45 6 Gigantopithecus blacki size comparison by Harry-the-Fox Gigantopithecus blacki size comparison :iconharry-the-fox:Harry-the-Fox 56 15 Tyrannosauurs and Triceratops Size Comparison by Harry-the-Fox Tyrannosauurs and Triceratops Size Comparison :iconharry-the-fox:Harry-the-Fox 41 8 Mososaurus Hoffmanni Size by Harry-the-Fox Mososaurus Hoffmanni Size :iconharry-the-fox:Harry-the-Fox 72 31 Kronosaurus Size by Harry-the-Fox Kronosaurus Size :iconharry-the-fox:Harry-the-Fox 43 15 The THURTH about MEGALODON SIZE- dated April 1 by Harry-the-Fox The THURTH about MEGALODON SIZE- dated April 1 :iconharry-the-fox:Harry-the-Fox 33 17 Hatzegopterix Size by Harry-the-Fox Hatzegopterix Size :iconharry-the-fox:Harry-the-Fox 48 4 Palaoloxodon Namadicus Size by Harry-the-Fox Palaoloxodon Namadicus Size :iconharry-the-fox:Harry-the-Fox 45 37 Utahraptor Size by Harry-the-Fox Utahraptor Size :iconharry-the-fox:Harry-the-Fox 46 6 Deinotherium Giganteum Size by Harry-the-Fox Deinotherium Giganteum Size :iconharry-the-fox:Harry-the-Fox 35 39 Patagotitan Size- The Biggest Dinosaur Ever? by Harry-the-Fox Patagotitan Size- The Biggest Dinosaur Ever? :iconharry-the-fox:Harry-the-Fox 48 43 Acrocanthosaurus Size by Harry-the-Fox Acrocanthosaurus Size :iconharry-the-fox:Harry-the-Fox 38 38 Yutyrannus Size by Harry-the-Fox Yutyrannus Size :iconharry-the-fox:Harry-the-Fox 34 14

Favourites

Titanoceratops ouranos by Paleocolour Titanoceratops ouranos :iconpaleocolour:Paleocolour 219 16 The Newest updated version - Tyrannosaur skinchart by Blomman87 The Newest updated version - Tyrannosaur skinchart :iconblomman87:Blomman87 24 7 Tarbosaurus bataar by robertfabiani Tarbosaurus bataar :iconrobertfabiani:robertfabiani 31 3 Tyrannosaurus Rex Reconstruction by IlyaYungin1991 Tyrannosaurus Rex Reconstruction :iconilyayungin1991:IlyaYungin1991 270 244 Xiaotingia zhengi by Kana-hebi Xiaotingia zhengi :iconkana-hebi:Kana-hebi 204 20 Tyrannosaurus 2018 by Paleop Tyrannosaurus 2018 :iconpaleop:Paleop 119 8 Spinosaurus aegyptiacus skulls. by Franoys Spinosaurus aegyptiacus skulls. :iconfranoys:Franoys 97 9 Development of fish jaws. by Spinosaurus1915 Development of fish jaws. :iconspinosaurus1915:Spinosaurus1915 34 6
Journal
Debunking dinosaur myths and movie misconceptions
The extinct reptiles that dominated our planet over 66 million years ago have long captured our imaginations.
As more is understood about dinosaurs, for the most part, our perceptions of them have changed. But some myths have endured thanks to depictions that made certain dinosaurs household names.
Museum dinosaur experts Dr Susie Maidment and Prof Paul Barrett reveal some of the common mistakes made about the ancient reptiles that once
dominated Earth.
http://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/debunking-dinosaur-myths-and-movie-misconceptions.html
(Peter Jackson's 2005 King Kong remake features a fictional Tyrannosaurus rex descendant called Vastatosaurus rex. The star, a 7.6-metre-tall gorilla,
takes down the mighty meat-eater with apparent ease. The reality (that is, if a giant gorilla were to exist) would likely have been very different.Paul explains, 'Tyrannosaurus's bite force was about three times stronger than that of an African lion - it had the strongest bite of any animal that has been
:iconSameerPrehistorica:SameerPrehistorica
:iconsameerprehistorica:SameerPrehistorica 3 26
Leedsichthys problematicus by lythronax-argestes Leedsichthys problematicus :iconlythronax-argestes:lythronax-argestes 60 10 Free Tylo by DuskyVel Free Tylo :iconduskyvel:DuskyVel 414 88 Tylosaurus proriger hunts Nyctosaurus gracilis by AnonymousLlama428 Tylosaurus proriger hunts Nyctosaurus gracilis :iconanonymousllama428:AnonymousLlama428 42 52
Journal
Turns out they could fly
The esteemed Dr. George Pirol of the Indiana State University and his now more or less legendary team of paleontologists, responsible for highly publicized studies such as the theropod posture study and the spinotree study, has once again returned to grace paleontology with another revolutionary study that is sure to receive universal acclaim.
As most of us are aware it is commonly accepted that some invertebrates, in particular the bumblebee (the genus Bombus), do not have the required capacity in terms of flapping and wing area to fly according to the known laws of physics. Of course some individuals claim that bumblebees actually can fly fine within the confines of the laws of physics, claiming that things like the rate of flapping and the rotation of the wing solves all
:iconmegabass22:megabass22
:iconmegabass22:megabass22 25 46
Megalodon Nose problem by Mcraelodon Megalodon Nose problem :iconmcraelodon:Mcraelodon 44 41 All todays, Elephant seal the titan carnivora by Dragonthunders All todays, Elephant seal the titan carnivora :icondragonthunders:Dragonthunders 146 35 Cenozoic theropods by Dragonthunders Cenozoic theropods :icondragonthunders:Dragonthunders 182 44

Groups

deviantID

Harry-the-Fox's Profile Picture
Harry-the-Fox
Harry Wilson
Artist | Professional | Digital Art
Australia
Super-fast FAQ.

1-
Are you a Metalhead? YES! A Furry? NO! The ears are a joke.

2-
How do you work?
Painting in layers with photoshop and Krita. Over the recent years, I've based Palaeontological work carefully on scientific studies and reputable skeleton reconstructions (eg Scott Hartman), and using a custom ruler tool scaled to meters and measured against individual bones or segments. Also of course, lots of scientific articles, often directly testing for size. My older Palaeo art is just eyeballed (with surprising precision I am proud to say) but lacking scientific research.

3
I noticed something incorrect- mind if I let you know?
Please do! That said, the source you use makes a world of difference.. like the difference between Siverson getting upset I wasn't convinced his top-secret 20 meter Megalodon skeleton existed, all the way up to Ovleg convincing me to make a new 18m Megalodon size chart based on his scientific study (Leder, Perez and Badaut, 2016).

4
Image usage? Can I link-to/use your images?
Feel free to ask- my answer will probably be "yes"!
I've actually had my images published in books by Penguin, and taken commissions for Ken Derby in the past too (and this is back when I was strapped for time).
Interests

Activity


Looking back on this animal, I've started to ask a lot of questions about a lot of assumptions we form about it.
DISCLAIMER- all of these observations are based on little direct evidence, and I'm hardly claiming to be an authority on this animal.

1- Spinosaurus.... the aquatic hunter?
So, over the past few years it was revealed by Ibrahim that everyone's favourite Jurassic Park monster was, instead, very likely to be a specialist marine predator.
Ironically, I think I may have been one of the only people that found this discovery less a shock and more a case of "well that makes a lot more sense".
Given that much of the Sahara region was likely a shallow sea at the time, and given Spinosaurus' curiously piscavorous snout adaptations, it was likely that Spinosaurus' diet substantially consisted of fish... except there was one small problem.
There was simply no way a long-legged, land-locked mega-theropod could possibly hope to actually catch enough fish to survive unless it could enter the water and swim. The evidence that it would simply stand in the shallows and snatch up passing sharks like a crane isn't really demonstrated among the animal kingdom, aside, well, cranes.
This means it would have either taken a niche similar to a grizzly bear (mainly preying on land animals, but remembering to approach the river for the annual 'really large salmon' migration), despite having clearly more piscavorous adaptations.... which made sense for a long-legged animal.
Instead, with short legs and giant duck feet, it was clear this animal was a swimmer.... it caught fish by swimming after them (although some people still insist it somehow loitered around until a fish decided to swim within grabbing reach, which I doubt as it's not demonstrated among low-depth fish of today unless the predator was camoflauged... which is unlikely given that they model Spinosaurus floating around the surface).
Overall, no matter how abundant aquatic prey was, the spinosaurus would still need to be able to find and catch it.... without generous help from the prey being too naive enough to have any survival instincts of its own. The chances of this happening by mimicking a giant swan aren't so great.
Thus, I would propose that Spinosaurus wasn't some lumbering, lurking chameleon, but a swift hunter that could dive and chase fish around at will. Considering its locomotion involves large paddle feet- literally the exact same as most aquatic birds known to chase down prey (including by diving underwater and swimming), there is no great reason to doubt it could simply give chase.

2- Was it REALLY quadrupedal as Ibrahim states? Or Bipedal?
There's perfectly sound reasons for either case, based on how they could assist locomotion in the water, or on land.
BUT. I'm going to join the crowd and say "Bipedal".... but very cautiously.
Firstly, let me state that this reason has NOTHING to do with either of these fallacies.
i- the motivation that I want my old JP3 Spinosaurus back (I don't, but that's beside the point).
ii- that its scapula would decapitate itself if ever its limbs touched the ground (see my previous Journal entry). There is no actual anatomical constraint preventing Spinosaurus from walking on its forelimbs.
The only basis to presume whether it was truly bipedal or quadrupedal would be down to how the body's weight was distributed.... which leads us to ask the following question:

3- Was the "sail" of the animal limited to the torso? (Ibrahim) or spread across the tail too? (Hartman and SpinoinWonderland)
When I said "Bipedal" in the last question, my reason was solely based on making an assumption about the question of how that "sail" was actually to be distributed.
I'm aware Ibrahim was proposing a follow-up study explaining why he positioned the elongated vertebrae entirely within the torso region, but lacking access to any such article, I feel the evidence clearly points to the opposite, based on its relatives.
(a)
The vertebrae in question "looks" more like a tail vertebrae than a torso vertebrae, as far as relatives are concerned. Not a very solid reason, but the next one I can elaborate more on.
(B)
Every Spinosaurid with reasonably intact remains consistently show some manner of elongated neural spines span much of both the torso and the tail. Naturally, all of these other Spinosaurids seem to have longer, larger hind legs.
Naturally, this makes sense as the hind legs are the center of balance, meaning the sail being distributed equally across either side retains this. In contrast, Ibrahim's model suggests that the animal shifted to quadrupedalism, making a frontwards-shifted center of gravity sensible (especially being aquatic- to maintain ideal buoyancy, the weight ideally sits exactly in the middle, including lengthwise, as all marine creatures demonstrate).
However, there are a few things to consider.
(i) While the most obviously marine-adapted birds (penguins) have clearly evolved bulky, heavy torsos that seem widest at the 'chest' area, and tapering down to their feet (effectively serving as a tail flipper), plenty of birds capable of diving and swimming in the water after prey (Cormorants) have their center of gravity roughly at their hips.
A key difference against penguins, but a key similarity between the Cormorants and Spinosaurus is that the latter two have (likely) retained a hefty tail section, and both would be using their hind limbs as lateral propulsion/stabilization... Penguins on the other hand have massively atrophied tails, and feet that effectively serve as rear propulsion (and land locomoation by walking upright). Meaning the bipedal model of spinosaurus is complimented by modern theropods, and it is very probable that the ideal center of weight would remain at the hips for efficient swimming.
(ii) Quadrupedal dinosaurs with weight centered around their mid-torso are actually not that prevalent. The only truly solid examples are the larger ceratopsians, and the titanosaurs. For the most part, sauropods and ornithopods still retain massive heavy tails and their most enlarged vertebrae around the hips, suggesting their center of weight remains closer to the pelvis.
(iii) It creates a bit of a chicken-and-egg scenario. If spinosaurus evolved from theropods with enlarged sails, bipedal locomotion and hip-centered weight, these 'pressures' would have continued to influence the movement of this animal. Even as the legs shrank, it would still have most of its weight around its hips, in turn influencing the animal to walk in a manner where the hind legs take the main load. With such a weight distribution, and likely a large, long tail to provide this balance, its buoyancy in the water would already be centered, meaning the pressure to adapt a more front-heavy body wouldn't likely be there.

4- So... could this animal hunt land dinosaurs?
No. Of course not.
Not that it lacked the power to kill large dinosaurs I'm sure... it just lacked long legs to give chase, a discrete, stealthy form to sneak up on anything, and lived in a habitat that any land dinosaur would ever be dumb enough to go near.
Some suggest it may have tried to sneakily swim up on drinking dinosaurs like a crocodile would. Two massive problems with this.
1- This "crocodile" has, instead of a bodyshape that allows it to hide almost entirely underwater at best, or at worst, disguising itself as a floating log, the Spinosaurus' "disguise" consists of a gigantic fleshy sail poking out of the water.
2- Unless the average dinosaur has evolved to drink salt water out of the ocean, there is no reason any land-based dinosaur would be anywhere near its habitat, unless it was deciding to make an oceanic pilgrimage to a nearby land mass, and felt the various crocodiles, sharks and aquatic reptillian super-predators were worth the risk.

5-
Now for some completely controversial musings about the anatomy. Entirely hypothetical of course.
a-
is that "crest" even real? I have a feeling, from looking at the actual fossil remains of Spinosaurus, that the 'rooster comb' head crest might just be a bony border for a cartilageous nasal structure on the top of the snout. Given that dinosaurs seem to have a cartilage tip on their snout where their nostrils are, it is possible that this structure remained on Spinosaurus, but migrated to the top of the snout, instead of the frontal tip. It certainly seems the mandible pushed up to displace it, and the rest of the nasal region of the snout migrated backwards.
b-
Would Spinosaurus have a tailfluke?
Given that all of the major marine reptiles seem to have evolved tailfins of some description (except turtles, likely due to their shells diverting the flow of water over the tails and making them useless), is it possible that the missing tail is more fishy than stereotypically crocodilian?
It's certainly immediately possible for a crocodilian tail (well, a seasnake tail to be precise) if Spinosaurus had elongated spines along the rear tail vertebrae.... but what if it had a large protrusion of these, and a sudden 'twist' in the tail pointing the rest down? You've effectively given this animal a Mosasaurus-esque tail. Of course, actual bone spines aren't strictly necessary, as the Mososaur tails are entirely made of stiff 'soft tissue' without any true bones at all keeping their shape. Given that it likely had a huge tail and an anatomical feature on its vertebrae that would have easily made either of these possible, I would be fairly confident that spinosaurus would have boasted some form of paddling enhancement to its tail to augment its swimming potential.
  • Listening to: Ambient
  • Reading: Books
  • Watching: NA
  • Playing: NA
  • Eating: Food.
  • Drinking: various teas
Some extremely weird and wacky theory has been floating around which states that theropods had some crippling weakness.... that meant whenever the forelimbs were subjected to any upward pressure, the entire scapula (basically the shoulder bones) would dislocate, shoot upwards into the animal's neck and sever it- decapitating itself. As a result, all theropods could never let their forelimbs touch the ground... EVER... or they'd die. And from there, it therefore stands that Spinosaurus could not walk quadrupedally, because of course doing so meant the pressure of the limbs pressing against the ground would naturally trigger this ingenious self-destruct mechanism.
....
Seriously.
First, let's apply a bit of logic. If the issue is that the anatomy couldn't handle upward force, then this clearly precludes resting on the ground, or allowing any animal underneath its breastbone or to risk grabbing said animal for risk of a lethal uppercut to the breastbone. It stands to reason that if contact with forelimbs can detach the scapula, then so would contact with the scapula itself. This essentially means the limbs would have been vestigial in all possible uses in all theropods, and theropods would have been completely and entirely unable to lie down to rest.... ever.

Not only is this completely false, but is literally the exact opposite of the truth- that theropod forelimbs and scapula were SPECIFICALLY built for supporting the animals' weight on the ground when it rested, and even so far as to stabilize the animal as it transitioned between resting on the ground and standing up by pushing itself upwards while the huge legs did most of the work. Such a model was described in detail in the chapter "Rex, sit" in the book "Tyrannosaurus Rex, the Tyrant King" by Larson and Carpenter. Yes, you heard right- this alternate model was proposed not just for any theropod, but for tiny-armed heavy-bodied Tyrannosaurus rex.
You can find the relevant chapters in Google Books. Just add "furcula" and "sit" to your search criteria.

The evidence?
Quite substantial actually. Or more specifically, compared to the alternative.
-------------------------------------------------------

1
FOSSILS.
For the "decapitation" theory to be true, it means whenever a theropod's forelimbs touch the ground, it will be decapitated. Meaning there should be a gigantic abundance of headless theropods with compressed scapulas, by virtue of the sheer abundance of theropods falling to the ground they were fossilized in.
Evidence = alas, I tried to look for it, but I found no evidence of headless theropods guillotined by their scapulae.
-
For the "weight support" mechanism to be true, the authors were kind enough to answer that; they predicted the forces exerted would travel in two directions; the first would be upwards around the shoulder and ribcage, the other, most concentrated forces would be stressing and bending the furcula
Evidence = T. rex fossils with healed stress fractures and breaks on the furcola are very common (sources cited in the study). Also, need I point out the limbs themselves show signs they were rippling with strong muscles with curiously high weight-bearing capacity. Considering these limbs point downwards, most of the muscular efforts would be traveling downwards as well.
----------------------------------------------------------

2
Evolution.
Firstly, let's bust another myth on the side; that of "Cow-tipping"....  that there exists animals that are incapable of lying down or else they'd die (either from being crushed under their own weight, or are simply unable to get back up).
This is completely false. No such animal exists on land; although ungulates and elephants CAN take naps on their feet, for true REM sleep they all lie down, either on their bellies or their sides, and can effortlessly stand back on their feet again.
You can literally see proof of this when you visit the zoo or take a drive through the countryside. This means, the case for such an animal to exist is staggeringly weak.

Considering dinosaurs likely evolved from quadrupedal reptiles, wherein even the bipedal runners always revert to lying on their bellies and forelimbs at rest, and most dinosaurs remained quadrupeds, we have immediate evidence of the contrary. Furthermore, modern ground-dwelling birds rest on their breastbones- placing similar upward pressure on their bodies but more importantly, clearly inherited a need to lie down to rest from their dinosaur ancestors.
For a self-decapitating theropod to evolve at all, it requires at some point, their ancestors decided to cease resting on the ground and somehow sleep standing up... but somehow this revolutionary non-reclining REM sleep mechanism was lost again in birds.
The alternative is... you know.. it didn't actually happen.
------------------------------------------------------------

3
Aha! But what about the Abeliosaurs? And the birds? They can't use their limbs to rest on!
Well here's where it gets interesting. Both animals have limbs that are far less plausible for supporting their weight when resting on the ground.
Let's start with birds; their forelimbs are wings that are on the 'wrong' side of the body for 'ground resting', and most largely fold them up anyway. However, birds have a massive keel structure on their sternum spanning most of the length of their ventral bodies, and the shape of their bodies means most of their body length is supported along their tarsometatarsuses (feet). The keel likely exists mainly to support the impressive breast muscles to allow flight, but between the two anatomical features, their bodies have adequate support for resting on the ground.
Not so convincing... but when we look at the Abelisaurs it becomes more obvious. Like birds, their body shape differs from other theropods- this time by having more elongated, back-heavy bodies. Unlike birds, these animals have forelimbs that are unmistakably vestigial- they've lost size, and even proper joints and segments. The chances of these animals using their limbs to support their weight on the ground is clearly ridiculous. We could expect then that the scapula would be massively atrophied as well, considering the muscles certainly serve no purpose.... but instead it's the opposite. The scapula on Abelisaurs is massively enlarged  and wraps more of the 'breast' region that would likely touch the ground compared to other theropods, certainly presenting a means to disperse pressure from the ground around a wider area of its body than standard scapulae. This feature seems to be proportionately larger among Abelisaurs with more body-weight or perhaps more atrophied-looking arms (Carnotaurus being an example of both though).
This presents a convenient coincidence that two notable theropods capable of growing to massive sizes, that couldn't use their limbs as stabilizers happened to have other anatomical differences with the potential to mitigate these problems..
Putting this aside, the Abelisaurs present another riddle; if the vestigial-ness of their forelimbs is so apparent, why isn't the same true for other Theropods, if the risk of using their forelimbs was so high?
If all theropods genuinely had limbs that were too dangerous to use, they should have stumpy vestigial limbs as well... yet instead they're mostly highly articulated and heavily muscled...
----------------------------

Now, I do admit this is largely a "top down" deductive rationale, being that the only true evidence of theropods not decapitating themselves when their breast touches the ground are modern ground dwelling birds with unique anatomical features; and there is literally no evidence whatsoever for the seppuku scapula to work from...
...but the points raised are rather unescapable. Putting these together, the weight of evidence and logic clearly suggests the seppuku-scapula theory is absolute nonsense.
  • Listening to: The screaming inside my head
  • Reading: Scientific articles
  • Watching: NA
  • Playing: NA
  • Eating: Food.
  • Drinking: various teas
Ok, it's time.
Once upon a time, when people knew less about Tyrannosaurids beyond belonging to the practically universally feathery Coelurosaur family, and assumed, with good reason, they had feathers (including me). Then a study came out in 2017 that presented an unavoidable flaw in that theory, and a lot of "experts" seemed to struggle to understand it. After making the mistake of looking at articles about BBC's latest "truth" about T. rex, reading Meig Dickson's article "correcting" the Bell et al (2017) study on Tyrannosauroid integument, and Trey the Explainer's "corrective" video, I feel I can't contain the boiling rage anymore and need to do this.
I'm going to debunk all the fallacies and dumb statements trotted out by people who don't know how to read a scientific article, but act like they're scientific geniuses (the above two included, along with one of the Palaeofail blogs, as they made a vast multitude of glaring errors that are blatantly contradicted by what the findings actually say). And to be clear, I'm actually basing my statements off the actual data.... NOT from skimming through the introduction and discussion sections to cherry-pick whatever statement might validate my beliefs.
I won't bother "fake quoting" said fallacies, I'll jump straight into the corrections.

Note that the evidence doesn't strictly disprove the existence of feathers- but does suggest they are highly unlikely; if you disagree, at least check the sources and read through them, along with this entire post before making a response. I've had one notorious character around here, who did exactly the opposite.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1-
There is absolutely no immediate evidence so far that Tyrannosaurus had feathers, nor bare smooth skin.
This was actually written as a corrective description on some Palaeofail blog on one of those twitter-esque type sites- that it apparently had bare skin on its ventral body and legs, but a dense coat of downy plumage on the upper part. I'm guessing this guy got really confused and thought Ornithomums was a Tyrannosaurid, as that animal DOES fit the description exactly (that's right, it seems to have no scales, but exposed skin, like an Ostrich).
And just to be clear, "Scales" are NOT synonymous with bare skin- they are in fact a type of integument. I've previously raised the possibility of 'elephantine' stretches of scales with interspersed quills, but I should stress this is a completely different process. The elephant has larger patches of bare skin with more sporadic integument structures. On the Tyrannosaurus, this would be a case of being densely covered in integument structures, but some of them being flat scales and others being elongated quills. While *possible* it would be quite unique, and isn't being shown on the skin impressions so far.
-----------------------------------

2-
Tyrannosaurus rex DOES have fossilized patches of skin with unmistakable hard scales.... and they largest of which is by no means "tiny".... the specimen they come from (specimen BHI 6230; AKA Wyrex), however, is substantially smaller than 12m+ specimen Sue.
One of the biggest pet-peeves I have with this topic are the people that go to lengths to try to "describe" either the size of the scale patches (as being a couple of centimeters long at largest), or the size of the individual Tyrannosaurus they came from (assuming it was 12 meters long), and get one or both completely wrong.
Firstly, the skin patches (and the study itself).
Refer to the diagram. Image (f) shows a 1cm scale bar, next to a patch that is very clearly over 2cm wide and between 7-10cm long. Also note that this itself is from a much larger overall slab that is well over half a meter wide (Image (A)). Now keep in mind, there are a lot of gaps between the clear patches, but it shows they are dispersed over a wide area. The dispersion is likely due to the skin sections that failed to fossilize well enough, but you can make a logical guess that the missing spaces were either (i) more of the same, or (ii), patches of non-scaly skin sprouting tufts of feathers, giving it a patchwork plumage, for some reason. Also note other scale patches were found on the back of the tail/pelvic area, and on the back of the neck, providing some evidence against any basis of "scaly underside, feathered topside".
Then Wyrex, the specimen they came from.
Compare Wyrex to sue: the femur dimensions are 80% of what Sue has, and the estimated weight is only 64% of Sue, meaning this animal was substantially smaller and leaner, thus the relative surface area of the skin coverage was more substantial.
----------------------------------

3-
Feathers and scales are the same, derived thing.
This needs to be said again. The whole reason "feathers" exist is because scale genes mutated in the offspring of a scaly animal at some point in the past. In turn, the whole reason scales exist on birds is because the feather genes around their foot regions mutated back into scales.
This gene has since been identified, and according to the Bell (2017) study, is likely why Tyrannosaurids have scales, but the broader family of animals they came from seemed to demonstrate only feathers. That is, the Tyrannosaurids evolved from a scaly ancestor, itself evolving from a feathered Tyrannosauroid (more on that later).
---------------------------------------

4-
No evidence exists of an animal that has separate patches of scales and feathers on the same place, including Juravenator.
A lot of people keep citing Juravenator, but it needs to be pointed out that the "scales" on Juravenator were ambiguous bumpy skin patterns, originally assumed to be scales, until UV light revealed feathers on the surrounding rock. The researchers of that study made no such claim it was both "feathered and scaled", and I should point something else out, by asking a riddle.... "what has feathers and bumpy skin beneath?".... Answer "Literally anything with feathers, it's how skin looks when feathers grow from them". Seriously, it's a normal feature on bird skin. It isn't smooth at all beneath the quills.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

5-
Feathers preserve in rock, merely in the outer silhouette. Skin largely is manifest on the surface surrounding the bones. Ornithomimus is an example of both preserving. This is to counter the point "skin just preserves better"- no it doesn't. A lot of feathered specimens preserved no skin at all.
This aside, it's a long stretch to say "the lack of preservation is PROOF of feathers!!!1". You're literally citing the lack of evidence of something as irrefutable evidence of something.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

6-
Dilong and Yutyrannus were NOT close relatives of Tyrannosaurus, nor any Tyrannosaurid. They are more often placed in vastly different groups of animals that also come from a larger group called "Tyrannosauroids"... or "literally anything more closely related to Tyrannosaurus than to ornithomumus, velociraptor or modern birds". Which brings me to my next and most major point, that there is a massive, massive distinction between these two labels that is the basis for the Bell (2017) study.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

7-
Evolutionary evidence (also in the Bell (2017) study, and what the study was actually about) refutes both thermodynamic necessity for feathers in Tyrannosaurids, and also refutes the probability of any immediate feathered ancestors.
You could say "what if T rex evolved from a feathery animal and began to show scales?"- good theory, but not likely to be the case. The evidence lies in their likely evolutionary pattern.
Along with Tyrannosaurus, every other Tyrannosaurid to date has demonstrated only evidence of hard scales (on various different parts of their bodies), and none whatsoever for feathers... even when put to experimental methods that would have certainly put the odds against scales.
You might be wondering why this is important- it's quite simple- all of these animals, by virtue of being closely related, descended from a common ancestor. Meaning any similarity they share was also likely derived from said ancestor. Seeing that all of these animals had scales, it must therefore be likely these too evolved from their common ancestor, meaning its common ancestor was scaled. If that was true, then all the respective scaled regions on each animal were likewise inherited in the other descendents, meaning the 'small patches' become collectively, quite large. You could say "but, what if they ALL descended from a feathery ancestor, and by huge coincidence ALL evolved scales in completely different parts of their bodies?" That's one hell of a coincidence, and not really a greater likelihood. I should also stress this common ancestor wasn't even the immediate ancestor of any of the well-known Tyrannosaurids; T. rex and T. bataar shared a common ancestor, which shared a common ancestor with daspletosaurus, which shared a common ancestor with the common ancestor of Albertosaurus and Gorgosaurus; that's a lot of diverging animals over a very long period of time and evolutionary progress to keep showing the same features. Or to put it another way, all the Tyrannosaurids we know aren't even that closely related and appeared through radically different evolutionary paths.... yet they all keep showing these features.

You may also be wondering "But going back to Yutyrannus and Dilong, we don't have complete evidence that they were entirely covered in feathers- could they have simply shown variable parts that were scaled or feathered across all Tyrannosauroids?" As a matter of fact no, because these animals show only feathers, or ambiguous bumpy skin (like Juravenator, and not the crisp mosaic scales shown in the Tyrannosaurids). Secondly, the feathered surfaces appear in areas in which the Tyrannosaurids have shown scales- making such a prototype highly unlikely.

This brings us to the point about Yutyrannus and the clearly feathered Tyrannosauroids. The evidence suggests that originally, all Tyrannosauroids were covered in dense plumage, but the TyrannosaurID ancestor that descended from this broad family had at some point had its coat evolve into scales. Hypothetical modelling of its size largely indicates it would have been smaller than most known Tyrannosaurid species, as well as of similar size to Yutyrannus... suggesting size or form did not necessitate feathers for survival. Merely, Tyrannosauroids had feathers because they inherited them from their coelurosaur ancestors, and Tyrannosaurids had scales because THEY inherited them off their mutant Tyrannosaurid ancestor.
If you're wondering what the Bell (2017) study was about, it was literally whether 'gigantism' prompted the (re)evolution of scales in the Tyrannosaurids; and the answer appears to be no, to that as well.
All of the rest of this stuff was just to get as clear an understanding as possible about all of these animals before basing the hypothesis on them.
Not included in the study, but equally worthy of being pointed out... edmontosaurus mummies have been found- all scaled. These specimens were also substantially smaller than T rex- further refuting the "dinosaurs needed feathers to keep warm" theory.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


SO, wrapping it all up, we have
1- evidence of only hard scales in all Tyrannosaurids that show any soft-tissue evidence at all, collectively implying a very large area of scaly skin and no logical basis to presume they occurred in the missing places
2- zero evidence of anything else that contradicts the above evidence
3- rebuked theories supporting the necessity of feathers
4- evolutionary patterns contradicting a potential for feathers.

Overall, it suggests the scales that exist, do so as a result of the feathers "mutating" into scales in a distant ancestor, and at present, the evidence suggests in no way it was only a partial change.
Meaning that, *sure* it was still possible, but extremely unlikely the Tyrannosaurids had feathers, with no solid basis to presume otherwise. The evidence doesn't entirely disprove the existence, but clearly makes it exceptionally unlikely.
The alternate case, that they *did* have feathers, requires "Yes, bit it was a patchwork that coincidentally failed to fossilize a number of times across a wide geological range where feathered specimens do preserve, for no apparent reason".
Overall I'd rather rely on the evidence that actually exists, and scientists, by and large, do.
If you want to believe that the fossil evidence is 'wrong', be my guest, just quit "correcting" people that don't.
  • Listening to: The screaming inside my head
  • Reading: Scientific articles
  • Watching: NA
  • Playing: NA
  • Eating: Food.
  • Drinking: various teas
Sperm Whale Size
Note: YES, these sizes are legitimate and scientifically verified, despite how ridiculous and outlandish they seem (see *source*)

YARRRRR! Get ready for the "real" Moby Dick! The sort-of-gentle-giant (unless you're a cephalopod)

My first refined original creation thanks to my 4K monitor, and quite a tricky animal to depict thanks to the unusually high detail and bizarre anatomy of this amazing animal.
I would first like to point out that this animal is, in the public space, probably one of THE most poorly-depicted I've ever seen, with probably the largest disparity in depictions (in my attempt to find photographic material- it was surprisingly easy to tell which was which!)
Originally I based the image on some scientific anatomy charts... but the sheer volume of photographs revealed some stark consistencies in anatomy that the charts contradicted, so it eventually morphed into something far more organic and photographic-based.

*Source*
Secondly, my reference for size was good ol' McClain et al's (2015) "Sizing Ocean Giants" paper (go read it, it's awesome and free to access), drawing once again from verified measurement recordings on historical whaling vessels measuring the carcasses on the flat decks.
That's right, these findings were NOT taken from the notoriously dodgy method of dragging the dead whales besides the ship and taking a guess at the length (where a LOT of silly over-estimates have come from), but were actually properly measured and recorded.
Furthermore, this maximum size isn't *too* unusual; a range from 20-22 was fairly common, though overall the likely average size of these whales may be 18 meters. McClain et al (2015) goes into a lot of detail explaining the insanely large size... basically, a combination of allowing a massive energy-efficient and oxygen-storing form for diving that has practically zero competition from any other animal allowing it to gorge itself on a very abundant food source. It is certainly demonstrated among its anatomy, which is completely bizarre.... even for a whale.

If you're wondering about what this size entails, the Sperm Whale completely dwarfs literally every other animal lacking a baleen by a staggering margin; the mega-predators like Megalodon and Livyatan, along with Leedsichthys and the most massive ichthyosaurs (potentially including that newly discovered one)...... are at best half its size. Furthermore, the sheer bulk of this animal would mean that even at equal lengths, it would still be vastly larger.
Meanwhile, the infamous giant squid and colossal squid it supposedly "battles" are probably less than a 20th of its size (the longest 'mantle' (that cone-shaped part) of either cephalopod being less than 3 meters). Needless to say, these "battles" clearly weren't very substantial beyond getting scratches on its mouth as the squid was forced into the whale's huge mouth.

Despite all of this, the Sperm Whale is NOT actually the second-largest whale. Virtually every blue whale species, and likely the Fin Whales, Right Whales and possibly Sei Whales grew larger than the average sperm whale, and some of these probably exceeded the record holder too. That said, for an animal lacking a baleen to reach such sizes at all is truly amazing in itself, considering it shared a similar ecological niche as the Ichthyosaurs.

Hope you like it!
Loading...
So, about that 4K monitor. I decided to look at some of my old artworks that *seemed* alright on my old one.... WELLLLLLLLL needless to say I've decided to do some massive touch-ups. You might notice that the proboscideans have all received a makeover (except for the mammoth, which is pending). I'll be doing makeovers on a LOT of my old images to get them up to standard.
Looking back on this animal, I've started to ask a lot of questions about a lot of assumptions we form about it.
DISCLAIMER- all of these observations are based on little direct evidence, and I'm hardly claiming to be an authority on this animal.

1- Spinosaurus.... the aquatic hunter?
So, over the past few years it was revealed by Ibrahim that everyone's favourite Jurassic Park monster was, instead, very likely to be a specialist marine predator.
Ironically, I think I may have been one of the only people that found this discovery less a shock and more a case of "well that makes a lot more sense".
Given that much of the Sahara region was likely a shallow sea at the time, and given Spinosaurus' curiously piscavorous snout adaptations, it was likely that Spinosaurus' diet substantially consisted of fish... except there was one small problem.
There was simply no way a long-legged, land-locked mega-theropod could possibly hope to actually catch enough fish to survive unless it could enter the water and swim. The evidence that it would simply stand in the shallows and snatch up passing sharks like a crane isn't really demonstrated among the animal kingdom, aside, well, cranes.
This means it would have either taken a niche similar to a grizzly bear (mainly preying on land animals, but remembering to approach the river for the annual 'really large salmon' migration), despite having clearly more piscavorous adaptations.... which made sense for a long-legged animal.
Instead, with short legs and giant duck feet, it was clear this animal was a swimmer.... it caught fish by swimming after them (although some people still insist it somehow loitered around until a fish decided to swim within grabbing reach, which I doubt as it's not demonstrated among low-depth fish of today unless the predator was camoflauged... which is unlikely given that they model Spinosaurus floating around the surface).
Overall, no matter how abundant aquatic prey was, the spinosaurus would still need to be able to find and catch it.... without generous help from the prey being too naive enough to have any survival instincts of its own. The chances of this happening by mimicking a giant swan aren't so great.
Thus, I would propose that Spinosaurus wasn't some lumbering, lurking chameleon, but a swift hunter that could dive and chase fish around at will. Considering its locomotion involves large paddle feet- literally the exact same as most aquatic birds known to chase down prey (including by diving underwater and swimming), there is no great reason to doubt it could simply give chase.

2- Was it REALLY quadrupedal as Ibrahim states? Or Bipedal?
There's perfectly sound reasons for either case, based on how they could assist locomotion in the water, or on land.
BUT. I'm going to join the crowd and say "Bipedal".... but very cautiously.
Firstly, let me state that this reason has NOTHING to do with either of these fallacies.
i- the motivation that I want my old JP3 Spinosaurus back (I don't, but that's beside the point).
ii- that its scapula would decapitate itself if ever its limbs touched the ground (see my previous Journal entry). There is no actual anatomical constraint preventing Spinosaurus from walking on its forelimbs.
The only basis to presume whether it was truly bipedal or quadrupedal would be down to how the body's weight was distributed.... which leads us to ask the following question:

3- Was the "sail" of the animal limited to the torso? (Ibrahim) or spread across the tail too? (Hartman and SpinoinWonderland)
When I said "Bipedal" in the last question, my reason was solely based on making an assumption about the question of how that "sail" was actually to be distributed.
I'm aware Ibrahim was proposing a follow-up study explaining why he positioned the elongated vertebrae entirely within the torso region, but lacking access to any such article, I feel the evidence clearly points to the opposite, based on its relatives.
(a)
The vertebrae in question "looks" more like a tail vertebrae than a torso vertebrae, as far as relatives are concerned. Not a very solid reason, but the next one I can elaborate more on.
(B)
Every Spinosaurid with reasonably intact remains consistently show some manner of elongated neural spines span much of both the torso and the tail. Naturally, all of these other Spinosaurids seem to have longer, larger hind legs.
Naturally, this makes sense as the hind legs are the center of balance, meaning the sail being distributed equally across either side retains this. In contrast, Ibrahim's model suggests that the animal shifted to quadrupedalism, making a frontwards-shifted center of gravity sensible (especially being aquatic- to maintain ideal buoyancy, the weight ideally sits exactly in the middle, including lengthwise, as all marine creatures demonstrate).
However, there are a few things to consider.
(i) While the most obviously marine-adapted birds (penguins) have clearly evolved bulky, heavy torsos that seem widest at the 'chest' area, and tapering down to their feet (effectively serving as a tail flipper), plenty of birds capable of diving and swimming in the water after prey (Cormorants) have their center of gravity roughly at their hips.
A key difference against penguins, but a key similarity between the Cormorants and Spinosaurus is that the latter two have (likely) retained a hefty tail section, and both would be using their hind limbs as lateral propulsion/stabilization... Penguins on the other hand have massively atrophied tails, and feet that effectively serve as rear propulsion (and land locomoation by walking upright). Meaning the bipedal model of spinosaurus is complimented by modern theropods, and it is very probable that the ideal center of weight would remain at the hips for efficient swimming.
(ii) Quadrupedal dinosaurs with weight centered around their mid-torso are actually not that prevalent. The only truly solid examples are the larger ceratopsians, and the titanosaurs. For the most part, sauropods and ornithopods still retain massive heavy tails and their most enlarged vertebrae around the hips, suggesting their center of weight remains closer to the pelvis.
(iii) It creates a bit of a chicken-and-egg scenario. If spinosaurus evolved from theropods with enlarged sails, bipedal locomotion and hip-centered weight, these 'pressures' would have continued to influence the movement of this animal. Even as the legs shrank, it would still have most of its weight around its hips, in turn influencing the animal to walk in a manner where the hind legs take the main load. With such a weight distribution, and likely a large, long tail to provide this balance, its buoyancy in the water would already be centered, meaning the pressure to adapt a more front-heavy body wouldn't likely be there.

4- So... could this animal hunt land dinosaurs?
No. Of course not.
Not that it lacked the power to kill large dinosaurs I'm sure... it just lacked long legs to give chase, a discrete, stealthy form to sneak up on anything, and lived in a habitat that any land dinosaur would ever be dumb enough to go near.
Some suggest it may have tried to sneakily swim up on drinking dinosaurs like a crocodile would. Two massive problems with this.
1- This "crocodile" has, instead of a bodyshape that allows it to hide almost entirely underwater at best, or at worst, disguising itself as a floating log, the Spinosaurus' "disguise" consists of a gigantic fleshy sail poking out of the water.
2- Unless the average dinosaur has evolved to drink salt water out of the ocean, there is no reason any land-based dinosaur would be anywhere near its habitat, unless it was deciding to make an oceanic pilgrimage to a nearby land mass, and felt the various crocodiles, sharks and aquatic reptillian super-predators were worth the risk.

5-
Now for some completely controversial musings about the anatomy. Entirely hypothetical of course.
a-
is that "crest" even real? I have a feeling, from looking at the actual fossil remains of Spinosaurus, that the 'rooster comb' head crest might just be a bony border for a cartilageous nasal structure on the top of the snout. Given that dinosaurs seem to have a cartilage tip on their snout where their nostrils are, it is possible that this structure remained on Spinosaurus, but migrated to the top of the snout, instead of the frontal tip. It certainly seems the mandible pushed up to displace it, and the rest of the nasal region of the snout migrated backwards.
b-
Would Spinosaurus have a tailfluke?
Given that all of the major marine reptiles seem to have evolved tailfins of some description (except turtles, likely due to their shells diverting the flow of water over the tails and making them useless), is it possible that the missing tail is more fishy than stereotypically crocodilian?
It's certainly immediately possible for a crocodilian tail (well, a seasnake tail to be precise) if Spinosaurus had elongated spines along the rear tail vertebrae.... but what if it had a large protrusion of these, and a sudden 'twist' in the tail pointing the rest down? You've effectively given this animal a Mosasaurus-esque tail. Of course, actual bone spines aren't strictly necessary, as the Mososaur tails are entirely made of stiff 'soft tissue' without any true bones at all keeping their shape. Given that it likely had a huge tail and an anatomical feature on its vertebrae that would have easily made either of these possible, I would be fairly confident that spinosaurus would have boasted some form of paddling enhancement to its tail to augment its swimming potential.
  • Listening to: Ambient
  • Reading: Books
  • Watching: NA
  • Playing: NA
  • Eating: Food.
  • Drinking: various teas

Comments


Add a Comment:
 
:iconakatsukirocket854:
AkatsukiRocket854 Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2018
I have commission for you Harry. I am wondering if you can make a red alert 1 Soviet Mammoth but redesigned to have features of real life soviet armoured fighting vechiles of the late 40's and the 50's like the IS-7 and the Object 279
Reply
:iconharry-the-fox:
Harry-the-Fox Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Unfortunately I can't really take free commissions at the moment, out of curiosity, what is it for?
Reply
:iconsameerprehistorica:
SameerPrehistorica Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Happy Birthday man... Birthday cake  icon    
Reply
:iconharry-the-fox:
Harry-the-Fox Featured By Owner May 3, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks Sameer!
Reply
:iconwilly276:
Willy276 Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2018
Happy Birthday!
Reply
:iconharry-the-fox:
Harry-the-Fox Featured By Owner May 3, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Cheers!!!!
Reply
:iconwilly276:
Willy276 Featured By Owner May 3, 2018
^_^
Reply
:iconmartinwalker1997:
MartinWalker1997 Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Happy birthday birthday cake 
Reply
:iconharry-the-fox:
Harry-the-Fox Featured By Owner May 3, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Cheers!!!!
Reply
:icondinosaurzzzz:
Dinosaurzzzz Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2018
Happy birthday!
Reply
Add a Comment: