Saturday, July 16, 2011

Saurornitholestes langstoni

Saurornitholestes, a remake of an earlier image.

Around a year ago there was a new discovery involving fossilized scratch marks, presumably from the foot claws of a maniraptoran, at the entrance to an ancient primitive mammal burrow. I illustrated it at the time and some of you may remember it. However more recently a museum representative from Denver contacted me wanting a larger resolution version of the piece, so I updated it accordingly and added some additional details for accuracy and interesting-ness, including the trio of Pteranodon longiceps from a recent submission. (This is not the highest resolution, obviously, but I think the improvement in detail is noticeable.)

To reiterate the study:

The scratched-out burrows provide a unique insight into both the behavior and diet of these dinosaurs, which must have occasionally dug out the burrows of their prey, like many modern predators do. This trace fossil was found in Utah and is dated at around 80 million years old, which means the claw marks could belong to several different small dromaeosaurs or troodonts. I've illustrated the dromaeosaur Saurornitholestes here, which was similar in size and anatomy to Velociraptor. The findings were published in the journal Geology.