Monday, December 26, 2011

Deinonychus Prey Restraint

This is an illustration based on the new paper by Fowler et al, which discusses a likely possible method of predation by Deinonychus and other dromaeosaurs (the "raptor prey restraint" model, or RPR). This excellent publication is available free to download. It suggests that the unique foot morphology of dromaeosaurs was an adaptation to take prey in a very similar manner to extant birds of prey: by grasping with the foot claws, digging in with the hypertrophied "sickle" claw, and tightly hanging on to the prey animal as it struggles and thrashes around. The dromaeosaur would then begin to feed on it while it's still alive, until it finally dies from blood loss and organ failure, all the while standing on top of the animal to pin it down (a likely use of the unusually short ankles found in dromaeosaurs) and using primitive flight strokes with its "wings" to maintain balance.

The primary animal of study in the RPR paper is Deinonychus, so that's what I've drawn here. It is shown preying on the hypsilophodontid Zepheryosaurus. Though Deinonychus is usually depicted in a dense floodplain environment, here I've reconstructed it amongst some higher-altitude arid North American mountains.

This is my version of a Christmas dinner. :)


  1. Oh Emily, that POOR lizard!

    Nature isn't beautiful; it's random and dangerous and horrible, and it's full of monsters.

    We maintain the illusion of a beneficent, peaceable kingdom by isolating ourselves from the reality of it with technology.

    I once read a post by a sensitive kid who was as distressed at this as me, and he decided to end all pain that he could in the world, everywhere, even in animals. He even wanted to start a popular movement!

    I thought "wow, right on!" Then he said: "...and our first task is to kill all the cats. They tear other animals open and eat them".

    Meat the new boss, same as the old boss.

    The kid was in a pure, crystalline "logic trap."

    I LO♥E the T-shirt you made for me! The fabric is so heavy and comfortable.

    So when is the cap'n going to post some naked pix of that intelligent-man body?