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February 17, 2011
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Cretaceous Alligatoroid by ScottHartman Cretaceous Alligatoroid by ScottHartman
Rounding out the archosaur family tree, I've done several croc and croc-relatives of late. This is Brachychampsa, and the specimen is from the Late Cretaceous of North America.
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:iconspuderific:
Spuderific Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2012
Never smile at a crocodile.
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:iconroccenere:
RocCenere Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
So the scales on its back are actually bony protrusions? Not 'scales' at all?
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:iconevenape:
Evenape Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
Isn't that obvious?
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:iconroccenere:
RocCenere Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Sweetheart, there was no need to be rude.

To the artist: My initial confusion originates from my lack of exposure to a crocodilian skeleton complete with scutes. Through a touch of research, this has been remedied.
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:iconevenape:
Evenape Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
Well, sorry, I don't intentionally rude, just pointing out something
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Not a problem. They are indeed bony scutes, as you've discovered. There's actually a ton of information that can be gleaned from the scutes, not just functionally but also for elucidating the relationships of the croc family tree.

I've done 3 croc skeletals so far, and the scutes are the most different part of them (with the skulls a close second).
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:iconroccenere:
RocCenere Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
What kind of differences are particularly evident in the scutes? I had a browse through photographs of living crocodilian species just then, and to my untrained eye, I can't pick out anything particular.
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Some animals have very rounded scutes, some have very square ones. Some have both. There are different numbers of rows in different groups. Some have very tall spines on the tail, some (like Brachychampsa) have quite low tail spines. If you look at them up close there are often differences in the way blood vessels have made holes in them as well, and other morphological differences you wouldn't see in a skeletal reconstruction (or a photo that shows the whole animal).

Often a good croc paleontologist can identify the group, or even the genus, just by looking at a couple of pieces of armor. Now I'd be lucking to be able to put them into even the most general of groups based on the scutes, but then I don't work much on the croc-relative side of the archosaur family tree.
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:iconroccenere:
RocCenere Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh wow, that's very interesting. Thanks for taking the time to tell me this. (: I always have liked crocs and their extinct ancestors, it's a shame that I, to be honest, know very little about them.
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
If you go back and look at some fairly primitive croc relatives, like Effigia, you can see how weird and diverse they were.

Still, in the grand scheme of things they're really not my specialty either, although I do try to keep abreast of the literature on them when I can.

Anyways, you're welcome. I only post these on DA to be something of an educational source for artists anyhow. :D
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