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Qilong's avatar

Woolly Woolly

Maybe you can read the clues and figure out what this is ... or can wait and I'll tell that, despite all the woolly fuzz, giant keratinous spines on the tail, and double nasal trunks, this might very well be a .... gasp! ... ankylosaur!

What could we say, speculatively, about ankylosaurs? First, we cannot really assume the spines are really covered in huge keratin sheaths -- croc scutes certainly aren't -- while there are suggestions that these were have been embedded into the animal's skin, and thus may not have been exposed as much as they appear. If some basal ornithischians had bodies covered in fuzz, and Mark Witton [link] makes a great case for ceratopsians covered in "dinofuzz," there's no real reason to stop at them and hit ankylosaurs as fuzzy, too. And as for the schnoz... ankylosaurs have these huge narial fenestrae, with ample evidence for them containing an ample extent of nasal tissue ... so why not a trunk-like apparatus? Doesn't need to be a "trunk," of course. And if these guys got any more north than other polar dinosaurs, there is no reason the suggestions for ceratopsian "wool" cannot really apply to them, too. Mental excercise, artistic, and above all, not serious.
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I love this picture. And I love the speculative idea.
Qilong's avatar
vasix's avatar
I feel like drawing a Minmi like this....already planned it, should get down to the actual work :)
Qilong's avatar
Note that this reconstruction is, to be blunt, wrong. I don't think there's a chance they were so heavily "furry." Not even armadillo-like sparsely furred. Ankylosaurs are pretty spiky throughout their evolution.
Nettleheart's avatar
Nice; though I'm not fond of the trunks.
Qilong's avatar
Nor am I. It's all an impossibility. I doubt any part of this reconstruction is true.
Ikechi1's avatar
Can I borrow this wooly, (is fluffy better?) drawing and present it
Qilong's avatar
For what purpose?
Ikechi1's avatar
to show speculative possibilities and now evolution is not limited by human imagination
Qilong's avatar
I suppose I can allow this. But no derivatives. Please leave the illustration intact, my signature attached to it, and you must note that I own the illustration.
Ikechi1's avatar
No derivatives will be made, your illustration will be made intact, signature and all and it will be made clear that the work is yours. I would be remiss to leave that out.
Kazuma27's avatar
Oh my goooooooood!!!!!!!! :O :O :O

Well, that's cool actually. Love the twin trunks!
Qilong's avatar
Ha! I need more comments about the schnozes!
Irkenarmada1's avatar
This is really cool. Good work!
very interesting- I was always more interested in theropods and sauropods than ornithischians, but you raise some interesting points. I always assumed that they were scaly, but if the plumage I associate with small scale theropods went much further back than the Cretaceous, it IS entirely possible that some ornithischians had such features.

perhaps things as far back as Ceolophysis had protofeathers; I've seen one or two depictions of this, but haven't done enough research to determine whether or not that's likely.
Qilong's avatar
If we assume the things in Tianyulong confuciusi are the same things in Sinosauropteryx prima or Juravenator starki, then we allow ourselves to say: these things extend back to the origin of dinosaurs, and thus may have been present in the lineages leading to the three major groups, and most subgroups, of dinosaur. We know some ornithischians were ornamented with filaments, so we can posit that -- as this stems from Mark Witton's discussion as I note in the image description -- if one derived group has them, could all of them have them? I don't actually think this is TRUE for these guys, and the evidence for rough texture and hard skin is strong, but I can quite imagine some type of frilly, fringe filaments around the face or in regions less armored. One wonders, then, that the appearance of dinosaurs may be more fantastic than we've expected growing up. It's a good thing that guy like John Conway ([link]) and Memo Koseman ([link]) have jump started the conversation on this. My concern, and this illustration edges on that, is that this fantastic-ness can go a bit too far. BUT ... what they suggest we all do is be a little more fearless, and less "standard." I agree.
I shall have to research these things later; thanks for pointing me in the right direction.
sapiens89's avatar
I love the concept, it's really interesting to conceive the prehistoric animals as creatures from science fiction but remaining plausible.
I'd like to know, why two trunks?
sapiens89's avatar
Qilong's avatar
It's to do with the two large narial fossae in ankylosaurs, one on each side, but often with a roughened section of the snout between them, or the grooved, possibly keratinous beak below them. It just seemed "conventional" to give them a beak, topped with a heavy pad a la musk oxen, and then there were the nostrils ... so i just made trunks. I wasn't trying to be sleek and mysterious for my reasons, I didn't think there was a grand case for trunks -- and its likely there weren't any, they lack the evidences FOR trunks -- but those huge pneumatic narial fossae just screamed "Do something visual with me!" And so I did.
Wynterhawke07's avatar
Looks pretty cool.
bensen-daniel's avatar
Absolutely awesome
ZEGH8578's avatar
Definitely an intriguing idea.
LordGeekington's avatar
"trunk-like apparatus"

It has recently been argued the term "trunk" should be abandoned for things sticking out of vertebrate's faces and replaced with more precise terminology. I believe this would qualify as a prorhiscis.

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