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Confuciusornis

By ScottHartman
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Possibly the most famous Mesozoic avialan after Archaeopteryx (and more safely embedded within Avialae), I finally got around to giving Confuciusornis the skeletal reconstruction treatment. This is based mostly on an unpublished specimen I got to photograph and measure in China most of a decade ago, supplemented by the Chiappe et al., monograph. The specimen I examined did not have proximally fused metacarpals - I'm not sure if that's individual variation, ontogenetic, etc., but I left it as-is.

My Patreon supporters got early access to the skeletal, including high resolution files: www.patreon.com/skeletaldrawin…
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© 2017 - 2020 ScottHartman
Comments54
anonymous's avatar
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SargeantSatan's avatar
What are your thoughts on the diet of Confuciusornis? Piscivore has been talked about a lot considering on specimen seemingly preserved the remains of a fish inside of it, but I'm not sure myself what to think.
hypo-potamus's avatar
hypo-potamusHobbyist Digital Artist
What species are this?
ScottHartman's avatar
ScottHartmanProfessional Digital Artist
It's C. sanctus. Most of the time you can find this information in the skeletal galleries at my website.
hypo-potamus's avatar
hypo-potamusHobbyist Digital Artist
ok,thanks
Paleo-reptiles's avatar
my kind and wise friend, Scott

first of all, Thank you very much for answering to my questions yesterday.

the documentary name was BBC4- Fossil Wonderlands(2017). Professor Richard Fortey journeys to china for assay feather dinosaurs. 


www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03y6…


en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_…

Paleo-reptiles's avatar
you do not believed to draw tail feather for this bird?
ScottHartman's avatar
ScottHartmanProfessional Digital Artist
I don't ever draw feathers or fur on my regular skeletals.
9Weegee's avatar
9WeegeeHobbyist General Artist
Ive always had a question about your birds.

Why are they always featherless? It makes it really hard to go off of.
ScottHartman's avatar
ScottHartmanProfessional Digital Artist
The same reason all of my skeletals lack fur, feathers, and skin - in most cases they are not known and cannot be restored to the same degree of accuracy as muscles. I do sometimes do versions with feathers, etc., when commissioned (in fact I'm doing this right now for a museum), but not for my own purposes, as it makes them harder to compare to non-feathered taxa.
9Weegee's avatar
9WeegeeHobbyist General Artist
what are the commisioned ones? are they viewable to the public?
ScottHartman's avatar
ScottHartmanProfessional Digital Artist
The project I was just referring to is for a major museum overhaul. Everyone will be able to see them (who goes), and I may post some of them as-is on my blog, but it'll be another year or so before they are public, sorry.
9Weegee's avatar
9WeegeeHobbyist General Artist
oh it's ok. 

also how are skeletals made? I was thinking of making some
ScottHartman's avatar
ScottHartmanProfessional Digital Artist
The really short version:

I try to either visit the fossils in person to photograph and measure them. Failing this, I generally get another researcher to do the same for me (with commissions this sort of thing happens a lot). It's possible to also use monographs if the photos are of excellent quality and there are reliable measurements published, but that starts to get dicier. Then it's a matter of illustrating each bone to scale, and articulating them. You can do this by hand (Greg Paul has done it this way for decades), or in illustration software that supports layers (like Photoshop, or the Gimp). I spend a lot of time cross-scaling measurements with a calculator to make sure the bones are correctly proportioned themselves, and relative to other bones. Then you have to build up the silhouette, which requires a good knowledge of comparative myology. I recommend dissections, but you can shorten the time to learn that by finding published dissections from other people, and also by reading through the many papers that use EPB to trace muscle origins and insertions in dinosaurs, or whatever other extinct group you are reconstructing.
mark0731's avatar
So it's not an avian?
ScottHartman's avatar
ScottHartmanProfessional Digital Artist
If "avian" means "member of Aves" then no. But it's a stem avian.
Atlantis536's avatar
Atlantis536Hobbyist Traditional Artist
The legs sure bend in a weird way.
ScottHartman's avatar
ScottHartmanProfessional Digital Artist
In what way? They bend in a way similar to modern birds (though with a bit more femoral excursion).
Atlantis536's avatar
Atlantis536Hobbyist Traditional Artist
One of the legs is shown with the thigh bending this way: / and for some reason it creeps me out.
                                                                                   \
ScottHartman's avatar
ScottHartmanProfessional Digital Artist
That's the way most thighs bend?
PeteriDish's avatar
PeteriDishHobbyist General Artist
it's a birb! :)
Owlbaskingshark's avatar
OwlbaskingsharkHobbyist Traditional Artist
The false biurb
TheTobinator2145's avatar
TheTobinator2145Hobbyist General Artist
The keratin sheaths on the beak would have gone out further and would be nearly parallel to each other when closed (and possibly slightly hook shaped). It would constantly have it's mouth open like this. Otherwise it looks cool!
ScottHartman's avatar
ScottHartmanProfessional Digital Artist
There's only one specimen that suggests the keratin goes out further, and it's C. dui, not C. sanctus. Also, I was working directly from a real specimen that had the downturn in the mandible, and it doesn't mean the mouth would always be open, as just like basically all other theropods, portions of the mandible can slip inside the arched palate.
TheTobinator2145's avatar
TheTobinator2145Hobbyist General Artist
Sorry about that. There is a downturn in most of the bird jaws i have seen (mostly cardinals and finches that have died in my back yard) and in them the keratin goes out further (very noticeable in cardinals) so i thought it was a similar thing here. I didn't think of the jaw fitting into the palate. Mainly because i haven't seen a fossil of Confuciousornis up close, only pictures on the internet. this reminds me of the thing that Doc said to Marty in back to the future; "your'e not thinking fourth dimensionaly!".
anonymous's avatar
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