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Malawisaurus life drawing by palaeozoologist Malawisaurus life drawing by palaeozoologist
Another long time in coming, finally got around to a life reconstruction of Malawisauruus based on my own skeletal. This species was (in my opinion) unjustly left out of G.S. Paul's dino field guide.

From the early Cretaceous of Malawi, Malawisaurus was about 2.5 tonnes in weight and was about 11 meters long, so relatively small for a sauropod.

I have been really concentrating on scalation patterns recently in my life restorations of dinosaurs. It seems that everyone wants to give dinosaurs smooth skin, instead of the bumpy, scaly, and textured integument it really was.
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:iconsolomen:
Solomen Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Sauropods shared an ancestor with birds so they might have had protofeathers as well as scales... well all true dinosaurs (sauropods, theropods, ceratopsids, stegosaurians) had bird-like physiology. Pterosaurs and therapsids developed fur as far as I know ^^;
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:iconpalaeozoologist:
palaeozoologist Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Well, no sauropods or prosauropods are known from feathery integument, only from scales and osteoderms. Even baby sauropods have been preserved in their eggs with scales, so I'd say having protofeathers is unlikely (but not impossible). It's possible that they might have had Psittacosaurus-like bristles, though.
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:iconalgoroth:
Algoroth Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2011  Professional General Artist
Cool piece! The legs are coming along...one, two....c'mon LEG!!!!! I mean, they're not looking anorexic...I like the integument augmentation. And were there skin impressions found for this wee beasty????
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:iconpalaeozoologist:
palaeozoologist Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks! Some dermal armor and scutes have been found. One was 19 cm long and 9.5 cm wide (and looks to be about 9.3 cm tall). No other skin impressions have been reported.
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:iconalgoroth:
Algoroth Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2011  Professional General Artist
Interesting beasty! Thanks for the info! I thought of maybe having one face a Giganotosaurus or Mapusaurus, to give the predator more size menace. Hmmmmmmmm....

Were there any giant abelisaurids?
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:iconpalaeozoologist:
palaeozoologist Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Well, Malawisaurus lived in Africa, not in South America, and was temporally separated from them by a period of about 12.4 million years, and so could not have come into contact with either Mapusaurus or Giganotosaurus.

There were large abelisaurs, but none from the region that Malawisaurus was in. Kryptops (an abelisaur) was from the Aptian time period, but lived in the region which is now Niger, which is a considerable distance from Malawi. Kryptops was not that large, only about 6-7 meters long. Suchomimus (also from the Aptian of Niger) was about 11-12 meters long. Temporally and geographically, these are the closest theropods to Malawisaurus, but since they are still a considerable distance from Malawi, it's highly conjectural if they ever interacted with Malawisaurus.

On the other hand, large animals in Africa today have a considerable geographic range, so it might not be that unlikely that they would have interacted. For instance, lions and elephants are both found in Malawi and Niger today. However, there is a growing amount of evidence that populations of certain dinosaur species were fairly isolated into small geographic regions (at least in ceratopsians in the Cretaceous period of North America).

So drawing Malawisaurus interacting with Kryptops or Suchomimus is possible, although in my opinion, unlikely. But it would be much more accurate than the alternatives! :)
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:iconalgoroth:
Algoroth Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2011  Professional General Artist
Aye! True! And thanks for the information...

This is not a great T-rex photo, but it will give an idea...

[link]
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August 25, 2011
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