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Another Fine Feathered Friend from the Cretaceous

Illustration for article titled Another Fine Feathered Friend from the Cretaceous

We can't ever resist the urge to post a beautiful new dinosaur image from paleoartist Emily Willoughby. This is a Utahraptor, who lived during the Cretaceous period in (you guessed it) regions that are now part of the western United States. The feathers look amazing.

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This image is based on new research about the anatomy of this dinosaur, done by paleoartist Scott Hartman.

Writes Willoughby:

Scott Hartman has recently released his silhouette of the new Utahraptor reconstruction to Phylopic. Even though the paper hasn't actually come out yet, Scott gave me permission to upload my own drawing as well, which he has approved as being accurate (at least from a distance - any more subtle anatomy differences would be likely hidden by feathers).

Clearly, the new material will completely revamp our perception of what this animal looked like and probably how it behaved as well. Note the downturned jaw with its procumbent teeth and the much shorter limbs and tail. I've heard people say the new material makes Utahraptor "ugly", but I don't see ugly, I just see very, very strange - like an "ostrich bulldog", to use [James] Kirkland's words.

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Look at more of Willoughby's art on her Tumblr

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DISCUSSION

annaleenewitz
Annalee Newitz

Now I just want to snuggle this big guy. Kind of the way I want to snuggle bears. Which is to say in some imaginary world where they won't claw and bite me to death.