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RickCharlesOfficial's avatar

Stegoceras validum

I was getting bored illustrating not-so-speculative dinosaurs, so...

This is a theoretical Stegoceras validum (valid horned roof). Normally pachycephalosaurs are reconstructed as tubby head-ramming baldies. This badass I've drawn here? He's a inspired swift and sexy flank-butting conception! But I'm getting ahead of myself, before I brag let's review this creature's history. S. validum is the type species, all 40-or-so specimens of which have been uncovered in the same stratigraphical unit: the Belly River Group of Alberta, Canada. Being the most complete pachycephalosaur genus ever discovered, Stegoceras serves as a model for other pachycephalosaurs who haven't been fortunate enough to retain all of their remains long enough for humans to find them. Stegoceras wasn't very big, only about six feet long as an adult. But like all pachycephalosaurs, what makes Stegoceras impressive is it's bony domed skull. The dome itself is only two to three inches thick, however studies conducted on pachycephalosaur domes reveal an extraordinary fact about them.

In the domes of pachycephalosaurs, there are radiating structures associated with the spongy interior of the domes long hypothesized to function as shock-absorption mechanisms for when pachycephalosaurs engaged in an infamous head-butting duel. Recent studies (Mark Goodwin and John Horner, 2004) conclude that these structures were actually present in ONLY juvenile pachycephalosaurs. This is odd because it would have been the adults who'd have dueled for the cause of territory or right to mate, not juveniles who wouldn't be concerned with such factors at their young age. So if the very structures theoretically used for head-butting didn't exist in adults, then what were the domes for? Close examination of fossil pachycephalosaur skulls reveals they are layered in Sharpey's fibers.

And this is where my speculation grasps the horrified throats of conservative paleoartists (no offense to those folks, they play it safe and I respect that). Sharpey's fibers are fine hairlike structures that anchor attachments to the bone, e.g. the fleshy combs of roosters or the keratin horns of Triceratops. The presence of Sharpey's fibers on pachycephalosaur skulls suggest that they, also, sported extensions to their already bizarre heads.
What fancy head ornaments pachycephalosaurs actually had in life is up to the imaginative paleoartist to determine. That would be me. And what those head ornaments were used for? Did they make males look sexy? Were they used defensively in flank-butting or offensively against predators (without impossibly head-butting, of course)? Also up to me.

With that out of the way, the coloration is also worth mentioning. It is based loosely off the color scheme of a juvenile pachycephalosaur featured in the Discovery Channel documentary series Dinosaur Revolution. I've spoken with the artist who textured that pachycephalosaur model, and she says that color scheme was inspired by Halloween. She asked herself something along the lines of, "How many orange dinosaurs are there in paleoart? [not a lot]" And thus, her orange pachycephalosaur was conceived. When she told me this, I thought, "Orange. A fitting color for a pachycephalosaur. And inspired by Halloween... Say, what if I made mine orange and gave it a skull-like face?" So thus, my rip-off of Dino Rev's pachycephalosaur was conceived! =P

Scott Hartman's work was referenced for this illustration. Respective rights go to him. And please consult this ([link]) article for more information on pachycephalosaur domes.
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© 2011 - 2022 RickCharlesOfficial
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Atlantis536's avatar
It looks like a "Stygimoloch".
Estevam-Bernardis's avatar
I loved the color of it, but his skull was so topping.
RickCharlesOfficial's avatar
The domes were honeycombed, so the structure in it's entirety is lighter than it appears.
Estevam-Bernardis's avatar
very interesting...
TheMorlock's avatar
BrooksLeibee's avatar
This is pretty awesome!
I like the bone-head design on him/her!
RoFlo-Felorez's avatar
kinda looks like a Cubone :P great design too :)
Tomozaurus's avatar
Your speculation is always entertaining and yields some nice results.

If there is one thing you need to work on anatomically its the legs, the upper legs in particular. I've provided an example of roughly how the muscles should sit for you here: [link] using this artwork.
RickCharlesOfficial's avatar
Hmm... I seem to reconstruct all of my dinosaurs the way you're discrediting. This is a big "Aww, crap!" moment for me. =P
Tomozaurus's avatar
Yeah, I've noticed it on a lot of your works. Some people on JPL were saying you were doing the legs too thin IIRC, but I thought I'd give you a visual example.
RickCharlesOfficial's avatar
Ah... See I thought they meant something else and that I was doing the knees right. =/
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