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Prenocephale prenes by T-PEKC Prenocephale prenes by T-PEKC
Reconstruction of Prenocephale prenes, showing different types of speculative behavior and hypothetic presence of filamentous integumentary structures in pachycephalosaurs. This is my first entry for “All Your Yesterdays” contest - nemo-ramjet.deviantart.com/art….

Prenocephale prenes is pachycephalosaurid ornithischian from the Nemegt formation (Mongolia). It was about 2.4 meters long and lived during the late Campanian, or early Maastricthian times (~ 72 million years ago). It was herbivorous animal. Here, it’s shown hiding from big predator, the theropod Alioramus remotus.

The filamentous integumentary structures depicted here are speculative, but similar integumentary structures, made of beta-keratin and located mostly in the dorsal part of the torso, are found in the ceratopsian Psittacosaurus (Ceratopsia is a sister clade of Pachycephalosauria), and in the heterodontosaur Tianyulong. Both of them being ornithischian dinosaurs (former being more derived, and the latter more basal ornithischian), leave open the possibility that such structures could have been more distributed among the members of the group, and even homologous to the feathers in theropods. Reconstructing Prenocephale with filaments is my way to support the idea (it’s only idea for now given the fossil material at hand and the lack of studies testing this hypothesis) that the presence of filamentous integumentary structures is a basal trait for Dinosauria.

Here, the filaments are located in between the scales, as similar arrangement of feathers and scales is known in some modern birds. This can be explained by Prum’s model for feathers evolution, in which feathers (or protofeather filaments) are homologous in the embryonic stage of animal’s development, and later form different types of integument, which sometimes can coexist.

The majority of the body is covered with scales, following the model seen in Triceratops – subrectangular scales on the ventral side of the body, and finer scales above them. Some of the scales are bigger, with oval form, and are circled by smaller scales, forming rosette-like pattern.

It’s known that at least some dinosaurs (Oryctodromeus and possibly its closest relatives) had an adaptations of digging and were able to live in dens. Similar adaptations are not known for pachycephalosaurids (as far as my knowledge goes), but many digging/denning animals have no obvious adaptations for such behavior/life style. Here, Prenocephale is using a den to hide from a predator. I won’t go as far as stating the burrow was made by the dinosaur, it may just use already existing one.

But denning is not its only protection. If some pachycephalosaurs really were able hide underground from time to time, then they could have gone even further by using mimicry. Because of the specific shape of their head - the dome structure, some of them could have used it to mimic the rocks around, thus increasing their chance to not be noticed by the predator.

References:

Mayr, G., D. S. Peters, G. Plodowski, O. Vogel. 2002. Bristle-like integumentary structures at the tail of the horned dinosaur Psittacosaurus.- Naturwissenschaften, 89, 361-365.

Paul, G. S. 2010. The Princeton field guide to dinosaurs.- Princeton University Press (for Prenocephale skeletal drawing; as obviously seen, neither his style, nor the pose of his skeletal drawing were used in any form in my artwork).

Prum, R. O. 2003. Are current critics of the theropod origin of birds science? Rebuttal to Feduccia (2002).- The Auk, 120, 2, 550-561.

Varricchio, D. J., A. J. Martin, Y. Katsura. 2007. First trace and body fossil evidence of a burrowing, denning dinosaur.- Proceedings of Royal Society Biological Sciences, 274, 1361-1368.

Xu, X., X. Zheng, H. You. 2009. A new feather type in a nonavian theropod and the early evolution of feathers.- Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 106, 3, 832-834.
Add a Comment:
 
:iconjonagold2000:
JonaGold2000 Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Ceratosauria are not close relatives of Pachyephalosauria, as ceratosaurs are theropods.
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:icont-pekc:
T-PEKC Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2015
Yes, I meant "Ceratopsia". Thank you for noticing the typo, it is fixed now. :)
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:iconjonagold2000:
JonaGold2000 Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Youre welcome :P
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:icon7908642:
7908642 Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
It's like a trapdoor spider or trapdoor dinosaur rather :)
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:iconprusseluskenhubert:
PrusseluskenHubert Featured By Owner Edited Aug 7, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Your ideas are awesome !
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:iconfalken02:
Falken02 Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2014
cool
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:icont-pekc:
T-PEKC Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2014
Thanks!
Reply
:iconruschman:
Ruschman Featured By Owner May 18, 2014
I hate to disappoint you, but I hardly see why a dinosaur with long legs would be able to move in a tunnel as round as its body. the flesh tissues making up the legs and abdomen can only be squashed before muscle injury can occur. It is much like pressing two rubber balls against each other with all of your strength (which is not recommended, due to the high risk of injury).
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:iconlordofstamps:
LordOfstamps Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2014
Burrowing animals are often able to go into small places.
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:iconruschman:
Ruschman Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2014
That's not a burrower.
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:iconlordofstamps:
LordOfstamps Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2014
Still this is only speculation. Hypsilophodon might have even been a burrower like it's relative Oryctodromeus.
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:iconruschman:
Ruschman Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2014
It would have to have flexible joints within especially its vertebra. Tails in most dinosaurs are generically stiff.
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:iconlordofstamps:
LordOfstamps Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2014
Why must you assume it would be a complex tunnel with twists and turns? It could be a simple straight on burrow.
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:iconruschman:
Ruschman Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2014
I didn't say the tunnel would have twists and turns. I am simply saying that because of its rather stiff-looking vertebra (which is found in most birds), I should assume that it would need a slightly-wider burrow.
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:iconthepivotfan2013:
ThePivotFan2013 Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2014
So amazing! It actually looks like the Prenocephale is smiling 
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:iconaleksabg:
AleksaBG Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2013
Was this is the biggest animal that is digging holes (And if not, who was then)????? :o (Eek) :D (Big Grin) :o (Eek) :) (Smile) :D (Big Grin) =P (Razz) ;) (Wink) 
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:iconvitor-silva:
Vitor-Silva Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2013  Student
One of my favorite concepts for the Contest! I also noted that you didn't put a beak on the upper jaw. These days I was thinking in this feature for pachycephalosaurs and heterodontosaurs, after I became aware that teeth and beaks wouldn't work together. You're the first paleoartist I saw featuring it in this way, wich I now believe to be the correct!  
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:icont-pekc:
T-PEKC Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2013
Wow, thank you for the kind words! :) Speaking of the contest, I'm so eager to learn the results. :p

I've heard that too, though I still have to delve into the literature to learn more about this debate. To be completely honest, I don't remember why I reconstructed the snout this way. Looking at my old reconstructions of pachycephalosaurs they are exactly the opposite, with beak instead of fleshy snout - t-pekc.deviantart.com/art/Styg...t-pekc.deviantart.com/art/Pach...t-pekc.deviantart.com/art/P-wy... . You just got me wondering what I've been thinking when drawing this artwork. :|
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:iconvitor-silva:
Vitor-Silva Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2013  Student
Currently, I'm thinking it is the right way. Just by looking to the maxilla, we always interpreted as a beak, but considering the 'beak x teeth' theory, lips on the upper jaw would be much more plausible. Well, or maybe the upper jaw undoubtedly supported a beak, and/or only the lower jaw "be beaked" is more unlikely. But it is an interesting subject to discuss :D
Reply
:icondaizua123:
Daizua123 Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
That's interesting. I always thought it was just some hypsilophodonts who could have burrowed.
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:icont-pekc:
T-PEKC Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2013
The actual evidence for burrowing dinosaurs indeed comes from a group of small ornithopod dinosaurs. What I've drawn here is just speculation though.
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:icondaizua123:
Daizua123 Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
I knew that. When it comes to behavior, we look to modern animals sometimes
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:iconcreature218:
Creature218 Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2013
clever girl
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:icontheamazingkopout:
TheAmazingKopout Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2013
You can't see me , I'm a rock
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:iconalgoroth:
Algoroth Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013  Professional General Artist
Nice drawing and a very daring concept. Whether or not you are correct is not as important as trying new concepts.

Be careful though, of thinking something has to be true because of scientific consensus.

Keep up the good work!
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:icont-pekc:
T-PEKC Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2013
Thank you for the kind words!

Whether or not you are correct is not as important as trying new concepts. ... Be careful though, of thinking something has to be true because of scientific consensus.

Generally what you said is true and I agree with you, but when these new concepts are being applied to any scientific illustration I think they should be as correct as possible, given the facts (or what's known) at hand. Otherwise it wouldn't be scientific illustration but simply a fantasy art. Thus, when making paleoart, I think it's absolutely necessarily to stick to the scientific consensus, and thinking about it as "truth", or atleast as the current version of it. To me, edicated guesses and speculations should not contradict fossil evidence and our momentary understanding of it, but carefully expand it until new data allow scientists falsify these speculations.
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:iconalgoroth:
Algoroth Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2013  Professional General Artist
In many ways, you are correct and you, of course, should continue to work in whatever way you are comfortable. But paleoart is, almost by definition, a form of fantasy art. I agree, drawing a fire-breathing T-rex goes beyond the bounds of current knowledge, into the fantastic/fictional, but drawing only the known is doing yourself and your art and science itself a disservice, IMO.

A burrowing dinosaur is a fascinating idea, but how did this species dig a burrow? Here's where being conservative does not help. Did the Prenocephale appropriate another animal's burrow? You suggest this, and that is as it should be. The integument is fine to my eyes, but there is one problem and it is a major one.

While I can imagine a Prenocephale might have been able to burrow ( I have a hard time imagining it...long legs, very short arms!), this poor beasty cannot move-it's trapped, judging by the way it's drawn. A den under a rock or log might be better.

There are insects that use their heads in the way you describe and the idea sounds good. I wonder...might the large clawed predators have used those claws to dig out burrowing prey? If so, they might have used their senses to sound out their prey. Cool idea for a picture...

Keep up the good work!
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:icondobermunk:
dobermunk Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2013  Professional Filmographer
Absolutely, absolutely grand.
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:icont-pekc:
T-PEKC Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2013
Thank you!
Reply
:icondinodanthetrainman:
dinodanthetrainman Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Awesome! work
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:icont-pekc:
T-PEKC Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2013
Thank you!
Reply
:icondinodanthetrainman:
dinodanthetrainman Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
your very welcome
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:iconladyzind:
ladyzind Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013
This is such a cool idea.
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:icont-pekc:
T-PEKC Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2013
Thank you!
Reply
:icondinofreak337:
Dinofreak337 Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2013
Dude this is amazing work
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:icont-pekc:
T-PEKC Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2013
Thanks!
Reply
:iconsupercj:
SuperCJ Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2013
This would work until he gets stepped on my a sauropod and snaps his neck:D
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:icont-pekc:
T-PEKC Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013
Sauropods... those party breakers!
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:iconashimbabbar:
ashimbabbar Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2013
oh I love this little burrowing dino camouflaged as a rock, and your drawing style is beautiful
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:icont-pekc:
T-PEKC Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2013
Thank you! :)
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:iconpilsator:
pilsator Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I love the underlying idea, and the drawing itself is fucking amazing, man.
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:icont-pekc:
T-PEKC Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2013
Thank you! :)
Reply
:iconornithischophilia:
ornithischophilia Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
Awesome! I love it.
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:icont-pekc:
T-PEKC Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2013
Thank you! :)
Reply
:iconalbertonykus:
Albertonykus Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013
Wonder how that stiffened tail is handled in such a confined space. (Oryctodromeus for instance has lost its ossified tendons as an adaptation for denning.) Though perhaps, like dromaeosaurids, the lateral motion of the tail was still fairly unrestricted (don't know if anyone's worked on that).
Reply
:icont-pekc:
T-PEKC Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013
I'm glad you noticed this, I expected more people to comment on how pachycephalosaurids stiffened tail would prevent them of showing dening behavior. I actually considered this problem while this drawing was still concept in my head. Since I remember Oryctodromeus had specialized tail as an adaptation for living in burrows, I decided to see what's the case with Prenocephale's tail. I knew it had ossified tendons, but how much, and how they were distributed, I had no idea. Of course I was too lazy to check in the technical literature, so I took a look at the reference I was going to use, in this case Greg Paul's skeletal. According to his work, the anterior part of the tail, specifically the first 9 or so caudals, are free of tendons (though the dorsal view of the skeleton show very strange shape of the hip and the base of the tail. I didn't follow it here.). I supposed that this would make the base of the tail quite mobile and susceptible to bending. I know it's only simple interpretation of 2D technical drawing, but I decided that it will justify my concept. Anyway, you rised pretty interesting point about possible similarities with dromaeosaurids. I, like you, don't know if anyone have worked on this.

As of how the tail is handled in such a tight space, I guess the animal would bend it and then get in the burrow backwards. I honestly can't imagine it, moving its tail much once it get inside.

Now, I guess I should have included the explanation about bended tail when I send the drawing to Naish & Co. It would be sad if the whole idea get neglected because of inaccurately depicted tail.
Reply
:iconalbertonykus:
Albertonykus Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013
I was somewhat surprised myself that no one else had mentioned it yet. Good to know you put that much thought into the issue though!
Reply
:icont-pekc:
T-PEKC Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013
Well, I try. Anyway, I'm happy to see there are people like you, who actually pay so much attention to my work to notice details like this. Thanks!:)
Reply
:icondurbed:
Durbed Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013
Great work!. Like you say, theres nothing in pachycephalosaurs anatomy that suggests denning behaviour, but you couldn't guess a goat would usually climb trees just by looking at the skeleton either.
Reply
:icont-pekc:
T-PEKC Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013
My thoughts exactly! Thank you for the comment! :)
Reply
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