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A Lone Star

By Qilong
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Acrocanthosaurus is one of those animals you wish you had more to go one than you really do. Here, nearly the entire skeleton is known, but its in pieces with breaks in places that what I would show you were it accurately restored would look more like oatmeal than this. There are several specimens known, from several partial skulls and associated and partial skeletons. Fran is the most famous, and forms the basis of the skull here, but it is also associated with a partial skeleton that other specimens with worst skulls show off better.

Like an animal with which it is not closely related to at all, Spinosaurus aegyptiacus, Acrocanthosaurus had the neural spines of its vertebrae expanded into a tall midline "ridge." Unlike Spinosaurus, however, the bone is thicker, the spines lower, and there are ridges and features of the spines that show they were encased in the muscles that normally cover the spines of animals like this; it's Spinosaurus that's the freak in this regard.

Some of the more unusual features of this animal: The anterior caudals have deep fossae on the centra, and the neural spines of the caudals have a little anterior process or eversion of bone that curcled around a hole; this process continues into the tail as a spur of bone, or "anterior neural spine," notable in many other basal tetanurines, but only Acro has the looped anterior spur, and extensively in various specimens. Unlike most other "sail-backed" theropods, the extended neural spines continue all the way to an exceptionally tall axis through the cervical series, and not even the English Becklespinax or any spinosaur can boast this, suggesting a muscular role in these spines not typical for other theropods.

Acrocanthosaurus is the best known theropod from the United State of Texas, although remains were originally found in Oklahoma and have continued to be found in other adjacent states. This is largely because it is considered to be the trackmaker for the infamous Paluxy River footprints from the Glen Rose Formation of the middle of the Cretaceous -- these prints have been featured in everything from direction-changing pursuite predation, examples of assault and the theropod being dragged while holding onto its prey, and for the creationist claim that some of the prints were actually of human origin, which has also led to the claim that the theropod tracks are hoaxes. Infamous, all right.

Note: I have't listed the specimens used nor have I given a scale bar; this was meant a long time ago to form the basis of an elimination skeleton, i.e., a complet skleleton from the composite I was going to delete material from to illustrate the various specimens, each with their own scale bars and specimen numbers. Maybe I'll get around to that one day.
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anonymous's avatar
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Ameban's avatar
I wonder why some species had such tall spines.
kirkseven's avatar
looks quiet a but different from Scott Hartmans Skeletal.
strange.
paleosir's avatar
Very nice skeletal!
It really captures nicely how Acrocanthosaurus was a really 'deceptive' theropod, the tall neural spines make him look gigantic and bulky, while in reality, it was rather slender for a large theropod.
really, if you try to ignore the neural spines...it looks only half as big XD
Asuma17's avatar
This is a nice reconstruction; do you know where the hyoid bone would be located in Acrocanthosaurus or is like the groove leading down to the supposed jaw hole the hyoid? I'm doing a study on the vocalization of whether dinosaurs like Acrocanthosaurus could utter a bellowing roar by lowering it's screech or scream (that is if it could make a screeching sound) mixed in with a guttural-like growl. I've been composing birds and reptile sounds into dinosaurs sounds to a distinction on whether they could have the ability to roar and so far looking it seems that they were capable; by using a certain method. If they hyoid bone was strong enough to force out a yell in giant theropods then what scientist speculate about dinosaurs like T.rex roaring was wrong.
Archanubis's avatar
I was just looking at your reconstruction and the one done by Scott Hartman.  They do look similar, though he gives his Acrocanthosaurus shorter arms, a smaller thumb claw (that is the thumb, right?) and a shorter skull (his reconstruction is about a year older than yours).  It's still good work, but it's interesting to see how two different artists interpret dinosaur skeletons.
Nazrindi's avatar
I see this skeletal is 4 years old, but I do notice several errors. ^^; Do you plan on doing another Acrocanthosaurus skeletal in the future? If so, I can name some papers that would be of use for the anatomy of the skull and arms. =) I also feel that the spines are too high, but from what I know, none of the back vertebrae are complete, so I could be wrong. (Do let me know if you know of any, since this is by far my favorite theropod and any new info on it is greatly appreciated.) They also found a juvenile specimen in Wyoming, but I think it mostly consisted of a femur and a few fragments, I'd have to read the paper again....very exciting discovery, however. (The paper is "Paleobiology and geographic range of the large-bodied Cretaceous theropod dinosaur Acrocanthosaurus atokensis". in the journal Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. )

Also, don't take this as a flame by any means. I really enjoy your work and you're a very skilled artist! I'd just like to see you revisit some of your old skeletals, if possible. =)
Qilong's avatar
When I initially did this skeletal, it was done from eyeballing mounts of Fran and use of the original, type skull. I've never gotten around to fixing the reconstruction. I right now have little impetus to do so.
Nazrindi's avatar
Ah, okay. That's too bad to hear. But I can understand, skeletals are a lot of work.
dinosapien's avatar
That was a reference from Spaceballs, btw. Just in case you didn't know...
Qilong's avatar
I watch spaceballs pretty regularly, but thanks!
dinosapien's avatar
"USE THE SCHWARTZ, LONE STAR...
USE THE SCHWARTZ!"

Naaah I kid, great specimen! I love these things! I can browse them for days.
Qilong's avatar
Glad you like it!
Algoroth's avatar
Very cool reconstruction! Were the spines able to slide past one another to allow this weird beasty to rear? The entire body seems weird to me, though that is the dinosaur's "fault", not yours. I have a hard time seeing this as a functioning predator, though it must have been quite successful. And yes, I've seen some good photos of the mounted skeleton.
Qilong's avatar
There is no reason the spines would need to slide past one another to rear. The back of the animal would likely have been more or less rigid, and the spines have sufficient room to come close to one another when the vertebrae flex dorsally (which they couldn't do much of). Muscle and ligament tissues between the spines would likely snap if they were to slide past one another.

Note that the arms are very robust and the claws big, the legs robust and suitable for high impact running, but not sprinting (more like jogging), and the jaws very narrow and suitable for slicing meat. It's been theorized that animals with this body form were ambush predators who sliced off chunks of meat ot left gaping wounds in "hit and run" attacks, and likely were coordination killers like redtail hawks.
Algoroth's avatar
Okay, that helps me view its possible lifestyle a lot better. Thanks for the information! What you describe seems to me to be the best possibility. I agree about the legs: I cannot myself see this badass monster as a sprinter. Not if the skeleton mounts I've seen pics of are accurate.
Xenomorphia-Master66's avatar
a beautiful anatomical reconstruction of one of the largest of the predatory dinosaurs of North America. It is extremely detailed and very accurate on the anatomy of the animal, a great job well done.
Qilong's avatar
Xenomorphia-Master66's avatar
ahahah your welcome mate
Asuma17's avatar
This is one good skeleton of Acrocanthosaurus.
Qilong's avatar
Asuma17's avatar
Your welcome I'm a paleontologist in training and I the bones of the dinosaur are pretty unique and telling by the knee the dinosaur is pretty old.
cryptidsaurian's avatar
RickCharlesOfficial's avatar
Beautiful reconstruction!
anonymous's avatar
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