Sunday, February 1, 2009


Honestly, I'd though that I had this problem licked. But apparently, I don't. 
dinosauroids round three
This picture is another try at the dinosauroid. This picture is of two adults, one with throat pouch full. 

One of the big problems I was having with the dinosauroid was the evolutionary line. Because we came from arboreal ancestors, it was hard to think outside of those evolutionary restrictions. Still riffing on Darren Naish's ground-hornbills as models for post-cretaceous maniraptorans, I was caught with the paradox of a creature who would have very capable forelimbs - from the arboreal lifestyle - but yet, used the bill as the main manipulator. The two didn't fully go together. An arboreal creature would most likely have very capable hands, with a comparatively underdeveloped oral manipulator.

But thinking of non-primate intelligence helped a lot when trying to build this creature. Hyenas have monkey-level intelligence and social complexity, yet they never had to come down from the trees to attain it (not to mention elephants). So the dinosauroid didn't need to be arboreal, or ape-like at all, to be intelligent. And in terms of beak as primary manipulator, forepaws don't necessarily equal hands. For full-time bipedal mammals, like the kangaroos, the forepaws are great for digging and smacking other kangaroos, but they're not dextrous. (Thusly, this dinosauroid is tentatively placed in a strictly terrestrial evolutionary line of beaked troodontids, this line breaking from the previously illustrated herbivorous line sometime in the eocene and developing into a highly social family of terrestrial omnivores - this troodontid being one of the most intelligent of this family.)
gracile dinosauroid skeleton
So for the dinosauroid, the forelimbs are great for combat and grasping prey, but perhaps rather terrible for flint-knapping and the like. They are stuck with the versatile but still self-limited beak as the main tool. This creates an interesting problem for me as an artist, though - if they can’t devise human-esque tools, like spears and hand axes, etc, what visual signifiers of intelligence can you draw them with? Elaborate basket traps?
Termite sticks?


D'Arcy said...

This is some deep shit right here.

Simon said...

I know, eh? I might have to renege on the fully hands-free approach. I do like the image of the dinosauroid with a spear in it's mouth a lot...

korshi said...

maybe you could make them giant nest-cum-wigwams? some sort of clothing/jewellery? like i said before, i love these crazy dinosauroids. can't wait to see more.