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Archaeopteryx - Landing by EWilloughby Archaeopteryx - Landing by EWilloughby
This is the third in a series of feathered dinosaur illustrations for *Agahnim's and my upcoming book on evolution. You can see the first two here and here.

It depicts the famous feathered dino-bird Archaeoptyerx lithographica in its native environment of the tropical Solnhofen, of modern-day Germany. Archaeopteryx was a very small animal, roughly the size of a modern-day pigeon (not including its long, bony tail, a feature not found in extant birds) and lived 150 million years ago in the Tithonian stage of the Jurassic. Archaeopteryx remains one of the best champions of evolutionary theory due to its status as a "transitional" fossil, providing a clear example of an overlap of avian and dinosaurian features.

Though originally thought to be the earliest example of a true bird, Archaeopteryx also has a great deal in common with other theropod dinosaurs, especially deinonychosaurs, and was probably a poor flier. It had many small, sharp teeth, three-fingered hands, a long, bony tail, and lacks a bony breastbone but possesses a large wishbone. Most of the discovered Archaeopteryx fossils clearly show imprints of advanced feathering, including asymmetrical flight feathers on the wings. It also lacks a fully-reversed hallux, indicating that it was probably not capable of perching in the same way that most modern birds are able to do. It was probably more of a climber, glider or a runner than a bird capable of true powered flight.

A lot of work went into this piece, and I'm very grateful for the critiques and help of *Agahnim as well as many of the Gondolendians. Prismacolor pencil on sketchbook paper.
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:icontherealmaestro:
TheRealMaestro Featured By Owner May 1, 2013
You still did a great job, and I love your feathered dinosaur series. Your Anchiornis is actually my phone's wallpaper ^_^
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:iconewilloughby:
EWilloughby Featured By Owner May 1, 2013  Professional General Artist
They could stand to be a bit darker. I might decide to go over them again at some point.
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:icontherealmaestro:
TheRealMaestro Featured By Owner May 1, 2013
Oh.... It sort of looked like the Archaeopteryx had brown and white coverts that were in the bird's shadow ^^;

:+fav: restored.
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:iconewilloughby:
EWilloughby Featured By Owner May 1, 2013  Professional General Artist
That study was performed on a single covert, not the whole fossil. The covert is black, yes, but the coverts on this illustration are black, too. ;)
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:icontherealmaestro:
TheRealMaestro Featured By Owner May 1, 2013
Sorry, but you need to make a new version of this. The colouration is wrong - [link]
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:iconpalaeorigamipete:
palaeorigamipete Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
absolutely gorgeous! =B
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:iconmelyssathepunkrocker:
MelyssaThePunkRocker Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Haha, I like your can of worms reference. I do prefer the educated debating of avian evolution over the creationist one, though. The hardest part about argueing with creationists is that nothing you propose will ever change their mind and they can never give you testable evidence.
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:iconewilloughby:
EWilloughby Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2011  Professional General Artist
Haha yeah, unfortunately there are still some BANDits kicking around. I got into an argument with one (who worked) at my state museum a few months ago. As far as I know, though, they think that fluffy maniraptorans were probably just big flightless birds, and that other types of theropod dinosaur evolved separately, which would not necessitate complex feathers evolving twice in unrelated taxa. Unless of course you're talking about creationists instead... and that is an entirely different (and far smellier) can of worms.
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:iconmelyssathepunkrocker:
MelyssaThePunkRocker Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Yay! What doesn't make sense is the people that argue against the theropod to bird theory with nothing to back up their claim. The chances that an integument as complex in structure as the feather evolved twice in unrelated taxa is virtually zero. But people that don't understand biology well won't accept that as an arguement. Ever had that problem? No matter what evidence you give they think you are making it up or making connections between impossibly related things?
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:iconewilloughby:
EWilloughby Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2011  Professional General Artist
It makes perfect sense!
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