FEATHERED CELEBRATION.

New Dromaeosaur

Acrylics and Inks on cardboard.

Just prior to the last SVP meeting in Mexico City, I had a timely encounter with Mark Norell at the AMNH where he showed me a perfectly articulated new proto-feathered dromaeosaur specimen, slab and counterslab.
It was a rather shocking experience to say the least. I had been dreaming about this kind of fossil for twenty years and needless to say, I congratulated Mark effusively.

I can tell everyone that no photograph can do the fossil justice. The length and amount of feathers is phenomenal and borders in the excessive, specially considering the size of the animal which is fairly small (although not too small) and most was probably a juvenile. The arm's long fibers had barbules that worked with a "velcro" effect and attached to the skin in what seemed small tuffs or brooms coming from each pore.
More soft pliable "hair" with a different quality in texture and preservation covered the snout almost to the tip challenging my 'traditional' Greg Paul-like view of the distribution of the integument.
No beaks, just typical dinosaurian jaws full of serrated teeth.The semilunar carpal is preserved, swiveling the wing like wrists and the feet include a small but very clear hyperextendable toe typical of dromaeosaurs. If that wasn't enough, perfectly preserved scaly skin can be clearly seen around the feet.
For obvious reasons, I wasn't able to disclose details and write or publish any painting of it. Now is the moment. The specimen has just finally been officially published in the journal Nature and featured almost in every front page of a newspaper all over the world.
Mark was also puzzled by the length of the arms 'broom-like' integument... "what the hell would 'he' be doing with all that shaggy stuff?'" he wondered loudly. I have ventured a (rather festive) answer that is what you see here now.
So, in true Mexican style I invite everyone (including John Ruben) to celebrate with me! The obvious has once again been vindicated.

After many incomplete or disarticulated specimens Qiang Ji, MarkNorell, Ke-Qin Gao, Shu-An Ji and Dong Ren have given us what everypaleontologist has been expecting and dreaming about.
This one meter long marvel is the final corroboration that birds are dinosaurs, period. With shaggy clusters ofprotofeathery broom-like fibers covering the whole body and even longerfibers all along the arms, here I'm depicting what they most probablydid best: Quarrelling in colourful displays!
thefeathers or protofeathers of the arms extend beyond anyone'sexpectation.
It is non-flying animal but the 'wing' display was prettyimpressive.

See the specimen at http://research.amnh.org/vertpaleo/dinobird.html

 

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