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Deinonychus antirrhopus scales, feathers, fluff and footprints
I am planning a visit to the AMNH to see their Deinonychus antirrhopus mount,
AMNH 3015. I have carved the head over a few year period from black walnut,
maple, and cherry. I used maple, madrone, and walnut wood along with burl
veneers (slices of diseased sections of wood with unusual visual patterns )
for scales, changing to the look of rough skin at the back of the head. The
head is based on p 363 of Predatory Dinosaurs of the World by Gregory Paul,
1988, where he places it in Velociraptor.
I would like to start the body and would like comments on possibilities or
things to look for on the mount.
Feathers - Its ancestors appear to have flown and possessed feathers. For
30 million or more years its ancestors may have been flightless (I strongly
believe that flying dinosaurs would have been good candidates to land on
isolated land areas and become the dominate predators - some branches later
returning to the land masses). Ostriches retain wing feathers but legs
appear to be skin covered until the lower leg scales appear (based on
observations). They contain short neck feathers and eyelashes. Questions -
Could D. Antirrhopus have had eyelashes? Would a predator/scavenger have
feathers on its head after 30 Million Years (a predator that attacks prey
larger than itself)? They might keep long ones for display or short ones for
heat retention and/or coloring. Blood soaked feathers or feathers caught in
bodies when feeding or knocked off when biting suggest a lack of long head
and neck feathers or to limit them to body contour feathers. Wing feathers,
while making for a good display (and would be ideal veneer objects), would
appear to be poorly located on an animal that has arms apparently ideal for
grabbing struggling prey (although they could be regrown). Ancestral feathers
also appear to mean that areas covered by feathers may not have been covered
with scales. Archaeopteryx appears to have finger feathers. Would this mean
no scales on hands?
Feathers could also be used as a size and form disguiser.
Toe claws - A few years ago, on the list we discussed the meaning of the
lack of 2 toe foot prints with no conclusion being drawn. Have they been
found (I have only seen 2 mentions)? My conclusion - either retractable toe
claw were partially sheathed and held horizontal or they lived upland, in dry
areas, or in forested areas where their foot prints would not be preserved
(if such a place exists).
I am not a sculptor so I need to keep things simple. I would appreciate
any comments or insights to this animal, especially how the arms/hands fold.
Comments can be off list.