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Re. P.S. Oldest Neoceratopsian
Rob, you're of course right in your observation. The point I was
additionally hoping to make was that you can't just assume other kinds of
ceratosaurs and relatives will "automatically" show up sporting dermal
scutes, simply on the evidence provided by one isolated specimen. This does
not however (as you point out), negate the possibility that some of the
other related forms WILL show a similar morphology when discovered. I'm
saying that without further concrete, supporting evidence, at that
particular point in time, speculating on anatomical features is reduced to,
simply that. ( What I was really trying to do here is draw a loose analogy,
using ceratosaurs (maybe not the best example) to make the point about my
rationale concerning "when to feather, when not to feather" potential new
Everytime I have the opportunity to work on a new illustration, I have to
speculate and make judgement calls about color, soft anatomy, etc...
utilizing modern analogs and a little artistic license ( I'd be happy to
paint from life if a had a living terrestrial dinosaur to use as a model!)
As it is, I'm left with trying to limit the (unknowable) variables, as much
as is practical, in what is very often an inexact discipline (paleo art).
Ultimately, all artists can hope for, is that a well crafted, hypothetical
image of a dinosaur based on good information and collaboration with the
paleontologist when possible, is far more interesting to look at and comment
on, than no image of a dinosaur at all.