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February 14, 2007
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Ornitholestes by ScottHartman Ornitholestes by ScottHartman
This is supposed to be the classic small theropod dinosaur from North America, but it turns out that Ornitholestes has been harder to pin down than researchers originally thought. It appears to be more closely related to birds than the allosaur-grade theropod that some thought. While it's not as close to Paraves as say oviraptosaurs, there are a couple features that seem to be "proto-deinonychosaur" in general, including the narrowing and somewhat stiffened distal tail, a sort of incipient "killer claw" on the second toe, and a vertical pubis. I wish more was known of the wrist and pectoral girdle, but for now they are speculations based on where Ornitholestes comes out in phylogenetic studies. Even at this stage of bird evolution Ornitholestes was almost certainly covered in a fur-like feather covering, and quite possibly sported proto-wings on its hands and tail.

Edit: Wow! This may have been the oldest skeletal on DA without an update, as it sat untouched since 2007. Aside from the usual repose and soft-tissue updates, I also tweaked some of the restored elements to bring them more into line with Ornitholestes place on recent cladograms (specifically the wrist and scapula). Mercifully the known skeletal elements held up more than half a decade later.
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:iconpedrosalas:
PedroSalas Featured By Owner May 1, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
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:iconornitholestes1:
Ornitholestes1 Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Handsome devil, aren't I? :)
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Want to know a vaguely creepy coincidence? The updated image file I uploaded was titled Ornitholestes[1].jpg.

Cue the Twilight Zone music :P
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:iconornitholestes1:
Ornitholestes1 Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Doo de doo doo doo dee doo doo...There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to....Eh, never mind.
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:iconzegh8578:
ZEGH8578 Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2013
I didn't know it has such a confirmed "raptor claw", that is indeed quite intriguing. Is it lifted to the maximum in this restoration? As in - lift it any more, and it will break or cause pain? If the claw has grown this much by this species, it is sign that it has been an adapted feature for quite some time. How sure are we still about Archaeopteryx lifted toe? Archie's claw isn't even that much bigger than the other, which makes me curious wether the claw grows large first, or the toe flexibility, evolutionary speaking.
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
I'm really sure about Archaeopteryx, seeing as how I've personally spent hours examining the specimen in question (the Thermopolis Specimen). I'm only working from photographs and measurements on Ornitholestes, so I'm not as sure about the range of motion, but I suspect it can extend at least a bit more (though perhaps not to where it would be comfortable to carry around).

It's always possible that Archaeopteryx had secondarily reduced the size of the claw. Or perhaps whatever initial function they had (e.g. prey acquisition) soon led to a wide range of morphs as the toe was adapted to different lifestyles. As I think I mentioned in response to someone else, even some oviraptorids seem to show evidence of the toe proportions (shortened digit 2 with subequal 3 & 4), despite lacking the ability to hyperextend the second toe (and not having a scythe claw).

Another thing people may not be giving enough consideration to is how often theropods manipulated objects with their feet. As the hands became more incorporated into the wing (or reduced in some large theropods) pedal manipulation may have become more common...it certainly works for living theropods.
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:iconzegh8578:
ZEGH8578 Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2013
Indeed, I had not thought much about foot-manipulation - then again, I feel most people have ignored theropod hands in general, leaving them hanging there like useless appendages, while evidence suggest otherwise - such as simply: Large hands. Even comparatively small hands, such as carnosaurid hands are still large, and clearly had to be used for something. In yet another un-scanned drawing of a megalosaurid, I wanted to add a subtle attention to that, by showing it curling its fingers inwards - instead of just leaving them hanging - so to suggest that it is moving and curling and stretching its fingers while walking, kindov like a bored person tapping fingers against the desk :D
Lately I've also begun to imagine Tyrannosaurus mini-hands (which are remarkably well developed despite size) to be for communicative flapping :D I'm probably far from the only one with that suspicion, I'm sure!
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:icondinosaurusbrazil:
dinosaurusbrazil Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This dinosaur could be a raptor?
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:iconwynterhawke07:
Wynterhawke07 Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
It is an ancestor of the dromeosaurs and a member of the Maniraptora clade, but not a raptor in and of itself.
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:icondinosaurusbrazil:
dinosaurusbrazil Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you for the information. :D
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