Having fun with Jurassic Park. Old “Velociraptor” mutates into Deinonychus, and gets its feathers back!

An old Jurassic Park toy model was languishing unused in my vaults and I thought: what I would have done if it was me designing Jurassic Park? What would have I done to correct the stuff that has become so popular (mistakes and all)?

Using as starting point the idea of bringing out in 3-D every bit of my old -controversial- painting of the original turkey-like Deinonychus vanquishing Tenontosaurus, I decided to completely remodel everything that was wrong with the old so called “Velociraptor” in the movie (including the lack of feathers).

Obviously the main issues were remodelling the head, face, tail and arms  but that was nothing compared to the task of feathering the model.  I used several bird skins and my shed was covered in feathers for months . The feathers around the arms and tail had to be drilled in one by one.

I find almost offensive all the reconstructions I see that do not know how to feather the arms of raptors…. No they did not have a fan of ornamental feathers staring small at the wrist leaving the hands free to do the diva-thing at an Eurovision contest.  The feathers started long, possibly on top of the second digit, fanned out and then got smaller as they approached the elbow. The second digit was partially covered and the third digit was most probably under the feathers. Alan Gishlick classic paper on the mobility,  structure and proportions of the hand and arm of Deinonychus is taken in consideration here.

A prospective wing for sure?

Months in the making, this has turned out much more than a simple toy modelling hobby.


About luisvrey

Paleo Illustration
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7 Responses to

  1. Is there a particular reason you didn’t give the hind limbs feathers like we see in Microraptor?

    • luisvrey says:

      Diversity! You don’t expect ostriches to have the same feathers as Microraptor (same applies to any bird or dinobird)… and obviously Velociraptor or Deinonychus are fully cursorial, no doubt about that!

  2. Great work BTW; too bad we won’t be seeing any feathered dinos (that aren’t birds) in JP4, or at least not properly feathered ones, even if they keep the quills on the “velociraptors.”

    • psittacosaurus5090 says:

      i agree. no feathered dinos in the upcoming Jurassic World movie, that’s was very disappointing.

    • luisvrey says:

      I think everybody expects too much of JP… their dinosaurs have been >alwaysat most<… so it is a work of fiction. Some of them are acceptable, but some (or quite a few) range almost in the realms of Godzilla or King Kong I'm afraid! Spielberg wanted monsters not scientific accuracy!

  3. I actually think that Jurassic Park’s dinosaurs were supposed to be a sort of antithesis to godzilla-type movie monsters, in the sense that they were lively, active creatures as opposed to slow-moving, tail-dragging monstrosities, the view which is today recognized as correct. Also, I think there was a scene in the first movie where Dr. Alan Grant pointed out features in a raptor skeleton that also appear in birds as evidence that modern birds are modified dinosaurs, specifically the pubis pointing backwards, I believe.

    I agree though that there were lots of embarrassing inaccuracies, even for that time, such as the humanoid intelligence of the raptors, Tyrannosaurus’s over-lengthened arms, a downsized Dilophosaurus (or was it a juvenile) with a poison-spitting frill, and other things.

    Still, given that Jurassic Park did get more people to start thinking about things that at the time were controversial, such as mesozoic dinosaurs being ancestral to modern birds and warm-blooded, I think it would be fitting that the next film in the franchise helped to make people aware of more modern discoveries such as the diversity of feathers in non-avian dinosaurs.

    However, I think there could be hope for a reboot at some point in the not-too-distant future, given that Spider-man was rebooted just five years after the third film in the original trilogy came out, and that it could be an opportunity to present accurate science to the public using the same beloved basic story, as well as an opportunity to present a less terrifying view of biotechnology to the public, perhaps by writing a script where the whole thing doesn’t end in disaster and tragedy.

    Moreover, since I don’t think there’s any reason to think that any non-avian dinosaurs had terrifying ear-shattering “ROAAAAAAAAAR!s” (because it isn’t so with living avian dinosaurs or living crocodilians), or that T. Rex went “STOMP, STOMP, STOMP!” (correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t it’s heel to flexible for that?), Tyrannosaurus Rex (or maybe Tarbosaurus, possibly properly under genus Tyrannosaurus?) could be a sort of “silent assassin” that sneaks up on its victims in dark, shadowy forests, and before they know it they’re doomed. Maybe they could emphasize on this by giving the tyrant’s head a sweet, innocent “puppy-dog’s eyes” look without the teeth showing when the maw is closed, like John Conway imagined. Its first human victim would stare into its eyes, captivated, and then the beast strikes.

    What do you think, Luis?

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