A couple of everyone’s favorite “swift-thieves” (Velociraptor mongoliensis
) and one angry Protoceratops andrewsi
, doing their everyday business, fighting the harsh environment of Gobi (paleo)desert, some ~75 million years ago (Campanian, Later Cretaceous).
This is my fifth entry for “All Your Yesterdays” contest. Ironically this was the first concept I was going to explore for the contest more than month ago, but it has been constantly pushed back because of what I considered “better ideas, more in the vein of the contest”. Up until now (“now” is not used literally because I worked on this drawing for almost two weeks). I’ve tried to make this work speculative/unusual in several ways, combining various rarely depicted or speculative behavior types as well as speculative anatomical features.
is shown to form mate couples, in which the female is bigger than the male and is more active in gathering food, as it’s the case with many modern raptorial birds. The sexual dimorphism is slightly expressed, with male having more elaborated tail-fan. Although Velociraptor
does not pose obvious adaptations for climbing, it was probably able to perform such actions, not only because its ancestors were arboreal or partly arboreal animal, but because many animals can climb threes without specialized anatomical features for this. If Velociraptor
was able to climb trees, then why not taking its prey/meal up there too? Some modern animals, like the African leopard, take their prey on threes to eat it undisturbed by other (usually bigger) meat-eating animals. Considering the difficult life in the desert, where the food resource is limited, and most of the animals are more or less omnivorous, it would be advantage to take your prey to safer place. It makes sense for Velociraptor
to have had this behavior, considering the rest of the contemporary fauna which consisted of bigger and probably dangerous animals. The male Velociraptor
is depicted to pluck injured/dead covert feathers, a behavior rarely used in paleoart.Protoceratops
was among the biggest animals in its environment and considerable opponent for any Velociraptor
. As seen from fossil evidence both animals engaged in deadly fights, though it’s reasonable to assume in most cases it was not the dromaeosaurid to win these fights. In this artwork an angry male Protoceratops
is chasing the female Velociraptor
, because of her attack on his offspring. The outlook of Protoceratops
is speculative, with many keratinous scutes and horn-like structure on the skull and frill. The body integument is restored after available data for Psittacosaurus
(not published). The small filamentous structures on animal’s torso are speculative.
The flora depicted in this drawing is probably anachronistic, and would make any paleobotanist cry. In my defense I can only say that I did try to find papers on Nemegt formation paleoflora, but the searching was infertile. Thus I decided to base the plant life on that of modern Gobi desert. The tree is loosely based on Haloxylon ammodendron
, and the small shrubs are just generic shrubs.
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. (referenced for the skeletal drawing of Protoceratops
Turner, A. H., P. J. Makovicky, M. A. Norell. 2007. Feather quill knobs in the dinosaur Velociraptor.- Science, 317, 1721.
is referenced for his skeletal drawing of Velociraptor