A while ago I received a commission regarding a very secret new paper about to be released. A Brazilian specimen’s reconstruction by the team of Dino Frey et al that was simply staggering… basically it looked like a very ornamented version of Sinosauropteryx or Compsognathus . I was very pleased to be selected to do the job, after all Sinosauropteryx or Compsognathus-like dinosaurs are some of my all time favourirtes and my actual “feathered dinosaur” saviour in 1997, when we, the Feathered Gang were all vindicated for the first time on stone…
This time, however, the stone specimen in question was a bit of a mess. Only a mass of protofeathers with two (or more?) protruding long (apparently straight) quills, which location frankly I couldn’t make sense very well as it was very incomplete, disarticulated and quite messy. Quite a lot of imagination was needed to reconstruct it, especially the external integument, that, for me, calls for bright, exotic iridescent colours .
I thought the reconstruction made by the authors was very courageous and I followed it closely. There was an issue though: the straight quills were a dilemma… were they there, where they complete? I started to play with its purported shoulder location. It was to look like a display items similar to the Bird of Paradise, with an extra hump of matted wills along its torso. After several attempts the authors seemed to agree to my last attempt, but after all it wasn’t precise enough for them so it didn’t make it to the finalised paper (link enclosed)
I now have seen the published paper more in detail, but it still seems to me that there are many possibilities for the allocation of those filaments or ornaments… so for simple fun, I’m showing you here the whole process of trying to make an incredible animal believable…. My two favourites are the ones featured on top… but please be my guest: you can select which one you prefer!
And here is the paper… I’m sure it will ruffle some feathers!