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Majungasaurus - redux by ScottHartman Majungasaurus - redux by ScottHartman
Finally! After an eternity of revisions and attempts to reconcile the proportions of specimens of different ages that frequently didn't overlap, I feel confident I've nailed the general proportions.

With generous aid from several people ("credits" below) I figured out that the legs weren't actually too short in my original skeletal - in fact I ended up making them too long in my most recent attempt. Instead, the vertebrae and ribs based on UA 8678 (that would be the cervicals, dorsals, sacrals, and 5 anterior caudals) were scaled up too large.

That's an important distinction, as scaling them down had a chain-reaction on the relative size of the head, pelvic and pectoral girdles, etc.

It's still a strange and somewhat low-slung theropod, but nothing like my previous attempts. I should note that there weren't any mathematical scaling errors - rather, the way I chose to reconcile the axial series of UA 8678 to the larger tail and head of FMNH PR 2100 was wrong (the latter has proportionately taller neural spines, which is probably an ontogenetic feature).

Obviously newer data could require some nips or tucks, but I honestly think you are safe to illustrate Majungasaurus now. I know I plan to!

Special thanks (in alphabetical order) go out to Matt Carrano, David Krause, Adam Pritchard, and Scott Sampson, all of whom who provided excellent critiques and made this version possible (not to mention the research and publications the restoration is based on).

Now I'm going to go find a bottle of champagne to pop...
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:iconpiche2:
Tras ser conocido por numerosos cráneos y esqueletos bien preservados, el Majungasaurus ha llegado a ser uno de los dinosaurios terópodos más estudiados del Hemisferio Sur. Aparentemente estaba más relacionado con los abelisáuridos de la India que con los de Sudamérica o África continental, lo cual tiene importantes repercusiones biogeográficas. El Majungasaurus era el superpredador de su ecosistema, cazando principalmente saurópodos como el Rapetosaurus, y siendo también el único dinosaurio del cual hay evidencia directa de canibalismo.Aunque los brazos no disponen de mucha evidencia, se reconoce que estos eran muy pequeños, mientras las patas eran largas y robustas me gusta.
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:iconblazze92:
bLAZZE92 Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2018
Hi Scott! I was wondering if you remember Grillo & Delcourt (2016)? the one about abelisaurid body size, they used a modified version of this skeletal of yours with a bigger head, I originally didn't pay much attention to that but eventually got curious and decided to check against O'Connor (2007) and while I was able to replicate your inter-bone scaling and cross scaling between UA 8678 and FMNH PR 2100 of the dorsals and caudals, I did got a proportionally bigger head like them (and bigger hips) so I think it's worth investigating further if you have free time, perhaps I'm missing something.
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Maybe ask again in the fall, I don't have time to dig back into this right now. I can say that I ended up working with several of the authors and preparators of the material during my last major revision, and we ended up in agreement back in 2012 (including O'Connor).
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:iconslowusaurus:
slowusaurus Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2017  Student General Artist
Long boi
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:iconowlbaskingshark:
Owlbaskingshark Featured By Owner May 15, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
the Madagascan unicorn ballistic sausage
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:iconpaleosir:
paleosir Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I've read/heard several theories/hypotheses about where the small legs and general anatomy were used for (I've thought up some too):
-Low centre of gravity makes you a superior wrestler, so maybe it was going after Rapetosaurus, a strong prey that would put up a fight.
-they arms are small too, making it streamlined, so maybe it could swim very well.
-they are still strong, maybe it could jump? 
-the lower profile makes it easier to camouflage and walk through the undergrowth, so I speculate it probably had the same colour as the environment, possibly with skin flaps simulating vegetation?
-Maybe, due to the legs still being very muscular, maybe the males shoved eachother about in wrestling contests for territory and breeding rights.
-The horn is very rugose and placed on a sturdy head, possibly supported a keratinous growth more present in adult males? used for shoving contest? 
flank butting eachother?

All in all, a well camouflaged ambusher that goes after strong prey, is not fast at all, frequently swims to reach other places, fierce intraspecific battles without serious injury.

I think it was all of this btw, makes it a really interesting animal
-
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:iconthedubstepaddict:
TheDubstepAddict Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Awesome!
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:iconspinosaurus1:
spinosaurus1 Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
i have a quetion. how much would you think a roughly ~7 meter long majungasaurus weigh? 
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman Featured By Owner May 23, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
I really can't say without doing a graphic double integration calculation, but in the ~1 tonne range I would think.
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:iconchinmoy808:
chinmoy808 Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
anything about cannibalism?
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Almost all predators (and many herbivores and omnivores) have individuals that will engage in cannibalism from time to time, especially in the case of scavenging. We know that some Majungasaurus individuals apparently did the latter, but there's no evidence that Majungasaurus was particularly given to cannibalism, so it didn't seem worth mentioning in my description.
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:iconacepredator:
acepredator Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2016
I doubt there is a single non-cannibalistic predator
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
Me too.
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:iconchinmoy808:
chinmoy808 Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I know, but it's thanks to this dinosaur that cannibalism has been proven in dinosaurs.
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
I guess, but that's sort of like saying that finding eggs proves that some dinosaurs reproduced - of course they did. Same with cannibalism, especially in predators. 
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:iconchinmoy808:
chinmoy808 Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I know.
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:iconjonagold2000:
JonaGold2000 Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I have a theory about its short legs, balance. The shorter legs would lower its centre of gravity.
I heard somewhere its teeth (or skull) were made to hold on to struggling prey, so maybe that's where the need for the balance comes from.
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
It certainly lowered the CoG. I'm not sure if the stiffer neck (from the enlarged cervical ribs) would make it better or worse for holding on to struggling prey - but it's an interesting idea.
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:iconjonagold2000:
JonaGold2000 Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Aren't those ossified tendons?
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
No, they are enlarged cervical ribs. Now cervical ribs are themselves an ossification of where some of the neck muscles attach, so in one sense developmentally they are, but no more so than any other dinosaur.
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:iconjonagold2000:
JonaGold2000 Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Okay then :)
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:iconmesozoic0906:
Mesozoic0906 Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2015
The leg look long, after watching "new spinosaurus."
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:iconacepredator:
acepredator Featured By Owner May 10, 2015
This thing has even shorter legs than the new Spino. At least that thing's taller than a person (if barely).
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:iconabelisaur:
Abelisaur Featured By Owner Edited Sep 16, 2015
who would've guessed a 7 meter theropod had shorter legs than a 15 meter theropod?
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:iconacepredator:
acepredator Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2015
Still, it has longer legs.
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:iconacepredator:
acepredator Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2014
Where are its limbs?
*gets out microscope*
Oh, there they are.

Seriously, WTF evolution, reducing this to near limblessness and hen giving it a really weird head?
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:icondinopithecus:
Dinopithecus Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2014
Does anyone have an explanation as to why the coracoid is apparently so big in Majungasaurus (and at least some abelisaurids)? What did they need it for?
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Lots of abelisaurids, and there's no widely agreed upon explanation. FWIW the anterior length of the scapula ahead of the glenoid fossa probably supported expanded lower neck muscles, so the expansion of the coracoid area below it may simply have followed along. On the other hand, increased acceleration of the neck may have also necessitated  enlarged pectoral and latissimus muscles to counteract it, so perhaps that played a role.
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:iconacepredator:
acepredator Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2014
The most useless set of arms and legs ever.
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:iconjdailey1991:
Jdailey1991 Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2015
Not really.  They might be used for sexual tickling.  Anacondas have claws in their bodies used solely for that purpose.  As for the legs, the idea proposed in All Yesterdays sounds really interesting.
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:iconacepredator:
acepredator Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2015
I have to agree.
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:iconsurf-by-shootin:
Surf-By-Shootin Featured By Owner May 31, 2014
For the short legs and lengthened body, it looks like it would be a great swimmer. With its hands to its side, long neck and tail (which is  in line with the rest of the body) it must have been a habitual swimmer, its horizontal gait is similar to a swimming varanid. Who knows how far back the legs can be pulled back. Abelisaurs and their large caudofemoral muscles would make great surface swimmers with their powerful hind leg strokes. Having short legs means less dangling legs (fossilized claw marks indicate that toes were pointed down for theropod swimming and was a problem) which would mean less slow wading.

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Seeing how many abelisaur heads and necks are designed for powerful sustained bite grips, they may have used this at times to drown their prey. As for having rough, armored and uneven scales, crocodilians use this to reduce water disturbance.
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:iconpedrosalas:
PedroSalas Featured By Owner May 1, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
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:iconrobosawrus:
robosawrus Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013
I dont know if this helps, but this is a common problem when dealing with composite skeletons that consist of differing ontogenetic ages. My solution involved the dimensions of the centra of the overlapping portions of the common elements of FMNH PR 2100 and 8678. after everything was at the same scale, i came up with two reduction ratios one was centrum height, one was centrum length. I then superimposed the vertebrae accoding to each parameter and noted what was different, larger, thicker, taller, etc. I ended up going with the cntrum length ratio. I then modified the remaining FMNH PR 2100 vertebrae to backdate them ontogenetically based on the changes seen in the superimposed common vertebrae.

I filled in the space underneath and between the articulations of the haemeal arches, added mass to the tops of the neural arches, and increased the height of the neural spines and their width at the base. This recreates what I beleive would be these vertebrae in the ontogenetic state of the younger animal. Centrum dimensions seem to be more conservative measurements for this purpose than measurements of any other part of the vertebra.
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:icondobermunk:
dobermunk Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2013  Professional Filmographer
those legs... are so ... underwhlemed.
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Yes they are. It's a really strange animal.
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:iconruleroflions:
RulerOfLions Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Were it's legs really that short?
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
They really were. I can now say that with a bit more certainty than before.
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:iconruleroflions:
RulerOfLions Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Then that would mean it couldn't run very fast. Probably not more than 15 mph.
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:iconjokerz-1824:
Jokerz-1824 Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2014
Perfectly accurate.  When you live in a densely forested environment, you don't really need speed or agility.
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:iconacepredator:
acepredator Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2015
You do need agility in such an environment.
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:iconjokerz-1824:
Jokerz-1824 Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2015
Majungasaurus was a largely built animal with poor vision, yet it was somehow the apex predator of prehistoric Madagascar.
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:iconacepredator:
acepredator Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2015
Who says it had poor vision? Most extant theropods and nearly all the extinct ones had good vision.
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:iconjokerz-1824:
Jokerz-1824 Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2015
Scientists performed a CAT Scan on the skull of a Majungasaurus and found that the parts of the brain associated with vision weren't as well developed as the rest of the brain.  It could see clearly when standing still, but when on the move it would have to tilt its head from side to side in order to keep a straight line of sight.  If it was hunting and the prey managed to outflank it, the dinosaur would completely lose it due to having no peripheral vision.
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(1 Reply)
:iconruleroflions:
RulerOfLions Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
And when the only prey you have is Rapetosaurus, which is not a fast moving animal either by any means.
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:icondinosaurusbrazil:
dinosaurusbrazil Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Majungasaurus was an interesting abelisaurid, because his legs were much short, probably, because they ate sauropods, so they didnīt have to run much fast to catch his food, but, other abelisaurids, like carnoturus, could be fast runners, so it makes me thinking what carnotaurus ate...
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:iconsupergoji18:
supergoji18 Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
it seems that the longer/larger the neck/head is on a predator is, the less necessary arms become.

Needless to say, i feel bad for these guys. If they had an itch on their head, then what? XD
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:iconalgoroth:
Algoroth Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2013  Professional General Artist
HMMMMM....what about Saurophaganax, Suchomimus, and the larger neovenatorids? 

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:iconacepredator:
acepredator Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2014
Those have much longer arms.
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Rub it against a tree I imagine. :)
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:iconsupergoji18:
supergoji18 Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
XD forgot they could do that.
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