Here’s my submission to Love in the Time of Chasmosaurs’ version of the “All Yesterdays” contest. This version of the contest is differentiated from the original by requiring the artist to illustrate the speculative behavior in a style different from their usual, with a specific emphasis on straying from the hyper-detailed, realistic style that most paleoartists seem to be trying to capture these days. I tried a sort of cell-shaded, pseudo-vector type of look for mine, which I’m sure most of you will notice is very different from my usual fare.
Anyway, this is a little different from most entries to this contest in that while it’s speculative, it is something that I genuinely believe is the case (that Microraptor was an omnivore), and I think it’s perfectly possible that one of the ~300 undescribed specimens of this animal may preserve plant matter gut contents. Hard to say. In any case, I think that Microraptor has certain features that are consistent with omnivory in maniraptorans, including having somewhat unusual dentition by dromaeosaur standards.
Here I’ve depicted it munching on a tasty cycad fruit.
I intend to do a more in-depth blog post exploring this concept sometime in the coming weeks. I also hope that my watchers aren’t sick of me drawing Microraptors yet… there will be more to come.
This is a complete remake of an old picture of mine, and is hopefully the last full picture for this creation/evolution book, though I know I’ve been saying that for a while. It’s very interesting how much the scope of the project has, well, evolved since 2008. This painting is, obviously, a depiction of Microraptor gui gliding down from a rock. It is a rock and not a tree branch because (in my opinion, at least) there is not yet enough evidence for the idea that Microraptor was arboreal, so it’s possible that it didn’t spend very much time in trees at all. Here it is chasing Pompiloperus, a species of early Cretaceous Jehol digger wasp. Insect-chasing was unlikely to be something that Microraptor did often, but as we can learn from All Yesterdays, animals commonly do things they don’t do commonly, if you know what I mean.
This is old news at this point, but the main impetus for deciding to redo the old drawing was the Microraptor color study, which revealed a few finer points of the animal: that its long-assumed headcrest was more likely to be an artifact of smushed feathers in fossilization, that at least some Microraptor had a pair of long tail ribbons extending back from the fan, and most notably, that the animal’s feathers were iridescent, perhaps shiny blue-black like a crow.
There seems to be some debate at present about whether Microraptor’s legwings were typically held perpendicular to the metatarsals or more in parallel when gliding, so I painted them somewhat intermediate - a likely position for takeoff, I think.
This represents probably over 100 hour of work and is entirely hand-painted in Photoshop CS4. As always, a huge thanks to Jon for endless support, critiques and suggestions. Be sure to buy the book if you want to see this in high-res! ;) This will be my last upload for 2012 (perhaps my last ever, if the Mayans are right :p). May 2013 be full of many featheries!
This was obviously pretty quick and dirty, but after spending around 6 hours painting tree bark today, I wanted to speedpaint something fun. So have a Microraptor doing a threat display, inspired by this fantastic photo of a great horned owl.
Many animals, when threatened, will use absolutely everything in their power to make themselves look bigger. There are endless artworks out there of Microraptor using its legwings for the obvious function - to fly or glide - but if trying to make itself look bigger, the little dromaeosaur has an obvious advantage over its two-winged brethren.
Such a little poof.