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Majungasaurus - redux by ScottHartman Majungasaurus - redux by ScottHartman
Finally! After an eternity of revisions and attempts to reconcile the proportions of specimens of different ages that frequently didn't overlap, I feel confident I've nailed the general proportions.

With generous aid from several people ("credits" below) I figured out that the legs weren't actually too short in my original skeletal - in fact I ended up making them too long in my most recent attempt. Instead, the vertebrae and ribs based on UA 8678 (that would be the cervicals, dorsals, sacrals, and 5 anterior caudals) were scaled up too large.

That's an important distinction, as scaling them down had a chain-reaction on the relative size of the head, pelvic and pectoral girdles, etc.

It's still a strange and somewhat low-slung theropod, but nothing like my previous attempts. I should note that there weren't any mathematical scaling errors - rather, the way I chose to reconcile the axial series of UA 8678 to the larger tail and head of FMNH PR 2100 was wrong (the latter has proportionately taller neural spines, which is probably an ontogenetic feature).

Obviously newer data could require some nips or tucks, but I honestly think you are safe to illustrate Majungasaurus now. I know I plan to!

Special thanks (in alphabetical order) go out to Matt Carrano, David Krause, Adam Pritchard, and Scott Sampson, all of whom who provided excellent critiques and made this version possible (not to mention the research and publications the restoration is based on).

Now I'm going to go find a bottle of champagne to pop...
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:iconpiche2:
Tras ser conocido por numerosos cráneos y esqueletos bien preservados, el Majungasaurus ha llegado a ser uno de los dinosaurios terópodos más estudiados del Hemisferio Sur. Aparentemente estaba más relacionado con los abelisáuridos de la India que con los de Sudamérica o África continental, lo cual tiene importantes repercusiones biogeográficas. El Majungasaurus era el superpredador de su ecosistema, cazando principalmente saurópodos como el Rapetosaurus, y siendo también el único dinosaurio del cual hay evidencia directa de canibalismo.Aunque los brazos no disponen de mucha evidencia, se reconoce que estos eran muy pequeños, mientras las patas eran largas y robustas me gusta.
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:iconmesozoic0906:
Mesozoic0906 Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2015
The leg look long, after watching "new spinosaurus."
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:iconacepredator:
acepredator Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2014
Where are its limbs?
*gets out microscope*
Oh, there they are.

Seriously, WTF evolution, reducing this to near limblessness and hen giving it a really weird head?
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:icondinopithecus:
Dinopithecus Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2014
Does anyone have an explanation as to why the coracoid is apparently so big in Majungasaurus (and at least some abelisaurids)? What did they need it for?
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Lots of abelisaurids, and there's no widely agreed upon explanation. FWIW the anterior length of the scapula ahead of the glenoid fossa probably supported expanded lower neck muscles, so the expansion of the coracoid area below it may simply have followed along. On the other hand, increased acceleration of the neck may have also necessitated  enlarged pectoral and latissimus muscles to counteract it, so perhaps that played a role.
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:iconacepredator:
acepredator Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2014
The most useless set of arms and legs ever.
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:iconjdailey1991:
Jdailey1991 Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2015
Not really.  They might be used for sexual tickling.  Anacondas have claws in their bodies used solely for that purpose.  As for the legs, the idea proposed in All Yesterdays sounds really interesting.
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:iconacepredator:
acepredator Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2015
I have to agree.
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:iconsurf-by-shootin:
Surf-By-Shootin Featured By Owner May 31, 2014
For the short legs and lengthened body, it looks like it would be a great swimmer. With its hands to its side, long neck and tail (which is  in line with the rest of the body) it must have been a habitual swimmer, its horizontal gait is similar to a swimming varanid. Who knows how far back the legs can be pulled back. Abelisaurs and their large caudofemoral muscles would make great surface swimmers with their powerful hind leg strokes. Having short legs means less dangling legs (fossilized claw marks indicate that toes were pointed down for theropod swimming and was a problem) which would mean less slow wading.

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Seeing how many abelisaur heads and necks are designed for powerful sustained bite grips, they may have used this at times to drown their prey. As for having rough, armored and uneven scales, crocodilians use this to reduce water disturbance.
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:iconpedrosalas:
PedroSalas Featured By Owner May 1, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
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:iconrobosawrus:
robosawrus Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013
I dont know if this helps, but this is a common problem when dealing with composite skeletons that consist of differing ontogenetic ages. My solution involved the dimensions of the centra of the overlapping portions of the common elements of FMNH PR 2100 and 8678. after everything was at the same scale, i came up with two reduction ratios one was centrum height, one was centrum length. I then superimposed the vertebrae accoding to each parameter and noted what was different, larger, thicker, taller, etc. I ended up going with the cntrum length ratio. I then modified the remaining FMNH PR 2100 vertebrae to backdate them ontogenetically based on the changes seen in the superimposed common vertebrae.

I filled in the space underneath and between the articulations of the haemeal arches, added mass to the tops of the neural arches, and increased the height of the neural spines and their width at the base. This recreates what I beleive would be these vertebrae in the ontogenetic state of the younger animal. Centrum dimensions seem to be more conservative measurements for this purpose than measurements of any other part of the vertebra.
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:icondobermunk:
dobermunk Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2013  Professional Filmographer
those legs... are so ... underwhlemed.
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Yes they are. It's a really strange animal.
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:iconruleroflions:
RulerOfLions Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2012
Were it's legs really that short?
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
They really were. I can now say that with a bit more certainty than before.
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:iconruleroflions:
RulerOfLions Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2012
Then that would mean it couldn't run very fast. Probably not more than 15 mph.
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:iconjokerz-1824:
Jokerz-1824 Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2014
Perfectly accurate.  When you live in a densely forested environment, you don't really need speed or agility.
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:iconruleroflions:
RulerOfLions Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2014
And when the only prey you have is Rapetosaurus, which is not a fast moving animal either by any means.
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:icondinosaurusbrazil:
dinosaurusbrazil Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Majungasaurus was an interesting abelisaurid, because his legs were much short, probably, because they ate sauropods, so they didnīt have to run much fast to catch his food, but, other abelisaurids, like carnoturus, could be fast runners, so it makes me thinking what carnotaurus ate...
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:iconsupergoji18:
supergoji18 Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
it seems that the longer/larger the neck/head is on a predator is, the less necessary arms become.

Needless to say, i feel bad for these guys. If they had an itch on their head, then what? XD
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:iconalgoroth:
Algoroth Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2013  Professional General Artist
HMMMMM....what about Saurophaganax, Suchomimus, and the larger neovenatorids? 

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:iconacepredator:
acepredator Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2014
Those have much longer arms.
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Rub it against a tree I imagine. :)
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:iconsupergoji18:
supergoji18 Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
XD forgot they could do that.
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:icondalenbourg1:
Dalenbourg1 Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2012  Student General Artist
given enough time this fella may have descended into writhing on the ground like a snake!
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Lol, that's a great image. Alas, the dorsal vertebrae of dinosaurs are too restrictive and the upright posture precludes such a path. That's why snake-like things evolve from lizards and amphibians (in the case of caecilians).
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:iconpilsator:
pilsator Featured By Owner May 31, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Wow, what a relief!
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman Featured By Owner May 31, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
I know I'm relieved!
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:icontmac1kobe8vc15:
tmac1kobe8vc15 Featured By Owner May 31, 2012
Just curious, are abelisaurs generally proportioned like Majungasaurus or like Carnotaurus with much longer legs. I was wondering how the giant Ekrixinatosaurus will look like.
Is the low slung appearance just limited to its closer kin such as Rajasaurus?
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman Featured By Owner May 31, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
That's a great question, but I'm not sure anyone has the answer just yet. Looking at Ceratosaurus and Eoabelisaurus it appears that the ancestral condition is somewhere inbetween. Whether that indicates a clear later division among abelisaurs into "short-legged" and "long-legged" species, or whether abelisaurs have a diverse set of adaptations is something that will require the reconstruction of more skeletals (which itself will require the finding and description of more postcrania I'm afraid).
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:iconafrovenator:
Afrovenator Featured By Owner May 30, 2012
You know, you change this thing all you want..but it is still crazy-looking! :P
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman Featured By Owner May 30, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
I agree, but at least it's crazy in an more accurate way ;)
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:iconafrovenator:
Afrovenator Featured By Owner May 30, 2012
Agreed! I wonder what the implications are of its supero-inferiorly shortened tibia for abelisaurids as Lametasaurus. Anyway, congrats on a wonderful skeletal reconstruction! :D
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:iconriotlizard:
RiotLizard Featured By Owner May 30, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
just wondering, is it ok to call this thing majungaSAURUS AND majungaTHOLUS? or s only one right?
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman Featured By Owner May 30, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Only Majungasaurus is correct. At one point it was thought that the name Majungasaurus applied to a pachycephalosaur (they had found the little horn on top and thought it was a pachy dome) and the theropod was named Majungatholus, and so all of the early papers for these new finds used that name. But with complete skulls came the evidence that "Majungasaurus" was actually the same theropod.

Majungasaurus was named first, so it has precedence. Same reason Brontosaurus can't win over Apatosaurus, regardless of how cool or popular the name is.
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:iconriotlizard:
RiotLizard Featured By Owner May 30, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
ahh i understand
i just have seen dinosaur documentries saying majungatholas, and others saing majungasauras, i knew you had the answer
thanks
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:iconkingvego:
KingVego Featured By Owner May 18, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
wow, im not use to seeing a theropod with short arms that not T.Rex
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:iconhodarinundu:
HodariNundu Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2012   General Artist
Any news concerning Majungasaurus? As I think you said this current version would change yet again...
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Actually, the version up there (with the 2012 copyright) is a new version since last year. At this point I have no direct evidence that it will change more, although I wouldn't be shocked if it did - this is still a more tentative reconstruction than I would like, but it's as good as the data will allow me to get.
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:iconhodarinundu:
HodariNundu Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2012   General Artist
That is already quite bizarre, though... great work btw :>
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:iconeorhythm:
eorhythm Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Feh, abelisaurs. I'd be alarmed if it wasn't full of befuddlingly twisted anatomical proportions. These are creepy creatures well suited to my nightmares.
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:iconsupergoji18:
supergoji18 Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
and people say T-rex's arms were useless!

Do you think Majungasaurus's neck evolved the way it did to make up for the small arms?
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
That's a good question. More advanced abelisaurs don't have such a crazy-long neck (indeed, they simply aren't as long all the way around), but nothing else looks like Majungasaurus, so it's not known whether the long neck and puny arms evolved at the same time (in which case more advanced abelisaurs were simply stuck with them) or if the puny arms came first and Majungasaurus was just doing its own strange thing.
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:iconsupergoji18:
supergoji18 Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
i kinda think it did. the elongated neck could easily make up for the lack of arms in certain combat situations.
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:icondesmodeus:
Desmodeus Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This just reinforces my idea that had they not died out, certain dinosaur lineages would have totally lost external forelimbs. :p
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:iconacepredator:
acepredator Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2014
Moa did lose forelimbs.
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:icondesmodeus:
Desmodeus Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Well, that seals it then; one lineage did.
Cheers for the info'.
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:iconacepredator:
acepredator Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2014
I bet kiwi are close to it as well.
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Actually I don't think they would. There were important muscles from the body and neck that either inserted or originated from the pectoral girdle and upper humerus.
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:icondesmodeus:
Desmodeus Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
True, but do the limbs need to be external?
Human tails and (some) whale legs still exist as supports, though they can't be seen.
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
It's an interesting question. Because the forelimbs are stuck on the outside of the rib cage I don't think they could be internalized as easily, as there just isn't much volume outside of the ribs.
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