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MattMart's avatar

Leaellynasaura's Long Tail

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When I heard about the SVP abstract from last year concerning the newly discovered hyper-elongated tail of basal ornithischian Leaellynasaura, I had to throw together a quick digipainting. Blog post on the topic is here:
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MaxterandKiwiKing's avatar
IT'S SO FLUFFY!!!!!!!! XD
EmperorDinobot's avatar
What a tail. These small ornithopods keep getting stranger.
SketchySG's avatar
woah, this is neat. I remember seeing these guys in "Walking with Dinosaurs", but then they were naked. The feathers make a lot more sense, seeing as they were polar beasties.

I wonder if they'd make good pets...
Kingcobrasaurus's avatar
Those aren't feathers. They're quills, like the ones that were found on Tianyulong and Psittacosaurus.
SketchySG's avatar
Interesting. I assumed they were for insulation, but is that what they were for anyway?
Kingcobrasaurus's avatar
Nobody knows. Leaellynasaura probably had them, while they were most likely used to keep it warm in the freezing winters, perhaps it could also puff them up to make them stand up and make it look bigger in the same way that mammals do today.

Nobody really knows what Tianyulong and Psittacosaurus used theirs for, but I personally think it was a prickly defense against predators. Like a porcupine.


Ornithischians are beginning to seem more mammalian than reptilian these days. @_@
SketchySG's avatar
Yeah, seems like their fluff would be for insulation. Partly because "Walking with Dinosaurs" featured them in such a situation.
Personally I was assuming they were fluffy long before Tianyulong - I just can't see how else they could have avoided freezing.
Albertonykus's avatar
Not adding this one to your site?
MattMart's avatar
Forgot this one in my last update, will have to work on a proper writeup...
bensen-daniel's avatar
Ga wha---ut?

How well supported is the fluffy squirlly coat?
MattMart's avatar
Not well at all, but it sure looks cuter that way! Also, I was having trouble thinking of any other function for such a ridiculous tail.
Chimpeetah's avatar
Wow ! It really makes you think of the what other oddities existed in the dinosaur world, what features did they really have that we have yet to know, and what species existed that we have yet to uncover or never will uncover ! Amazing animals, it's no wonder why they have captured the hearts and minds of so many .... Because they were awesome !
Webseer's avatar
This is spectacular. I'm from Victoria and a former student of Pat Vickers-Rich, so to hear new science about a home grown wonder is fantastic.
Albertonykus's avatar
One of these insignificant little ornithischians just became interesting. (Of course, it already had a bit of press by hailing from a cold climate zone, but it's still a basal ornithopod... ornithischian thing.)
bubblekirby's avatar
Its ironic you said that considering this is my favorite dinosaur
Webseer's avatar
Insignificant? Polar dinosaurs are never insignificant, especially when there's evidence that they where residential all year around. Larger eyes, enhanced optic nerves and the capacity to do something no reptile today does? Far from insignificant.
Albertonykus's avatar
I wasn't saying polar dinosaurs were insignificant, I was speaking of basal ornithopods ("hypsilophodontids"). That was meant to be kind of a joke, in that basal ornithopods and their ilk just aren't as exciting as many other dinos in spite of whatever contributions they make to science.

And as far as doing what no "reptile" today does, archosaurs aren't really like other reptiles in metabolism. (Modern crocs are misleading; they're secondary poikilotherms.) Lots of birds live in cold places; I'd aim comparisons in that direction.
... modern crocs are secondary poikiotherms? I'd thought that was still under debate.
Albertonykus's avatar
You're right, I probably wouldn't state that now with such certainty. It remains a distinct possibility.
Albertonykus's avatar
I wasn't saying polar dinosaurs were insignificant, I was speaking of basal ornithopods ("hypsilophodontids"). That was meant to be kind of a joke, in that basal ornithopods and their ilk just aren't as exciting as many other dinos in spite of whatever contributions they make to science.

And as far as doing what no "reptile" today does, archosaurs aren't really like other reptiles in metabolism. (Modern crocs are misleading; they're secondary poikilotherms.) Lots of birds live in cold places; I'd aim comparisons in that direction.
Albertonykus's avatar
I wasn't saying polar dinosaurs were insignificant, I was speaking of basal ornithopods ("hypsilophodontids"). That was meant to be kind of a joke, in that basal ornithopods and their ilk just aren't as exciting as many other dinos in spite of whatever contributions they make to science.

And as far as doing what no "reptile" today does, archosaurs aren't really like other reptiles in metabolism. (Modern crocs are misleading; they're secondary poikilotherms.) Lots of birds live in cold places; I'd aim comparisons in that direction.
Webseer's avatar
I'll concede the point about archosaurs, but I'm curious about what constitutes exciting for you.
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