Obviously this is a very speculative scenario, perhaps a bit All Yesterdays-esque, and is speculative in a number of ways:
1. Family groups in dromaeosaurs are definitely not outside the realm of possibility, and may be more likely than the tired "pack" scenario, at least until the young disperse (fledge? Wean?). Here, the male and female are depicted in a monogamous pair-bond, and jointly care for the young.
2. The male is the more brightly-colored of the two, and the female is similarly-colored but a bit duller, and with more banding. The display feathers in the male are green due to a pigment molecule similar to the pigment turacoverdin, the only known green pigment in birds, and the pigment responsible for the green coloration in turacos. There is evidence to suggest that turacoverdin - or a molecule structurally very similar to it - arose at least twice in modern birds, once in turacos and once in the northern jacana, a totally unrelated bird. Therefore it's not totally outside the realm of possibility that a similar compound evolved independently in dromaeosaurs as well. Turacoverdin is copper-based porphyrin and turacos derive their copper from the fruit they eat, but Deinonychus could derive its copper from the livers of its prey, which is also high in copper.
3. The female is carrying its young on its back, much in the same way that some waterbirds like loons and grebes, as well as crocodilians, do with their young. The idea is that Deinonychus occupies a large territory and would needing to constantly hunt to feed the brood, and would be moving location too frequently for young to easily follow on foot. Here, one chick is using WAIR to climb up its father's back, which is something that some modern young birds also do.
4. The chicks are patterned similar to baby ratites, which are often streaked or spotted until they get older.
5. The feathery toes, while not terribly unique due to finds like Anchiornis, are loosely based on Matt Martyniuk's new post on dinosaur foot scales, which indicates that scutes may have evolved from feathers, rather than the opposite. The chicks here don't have feathery feet because the animals would have evolved from an ancestor that had pebble-scaled feet without feathers or scutes, and ontogeny occasionally very loosely recapitulates phylogeny. (Alternately, I could have depicted the chicks with voluminous legwings, since legwings may have been an intermediate stage between pebble-scale feet and scuted feet).
The only little thing that bothers me is the wing of the chick - I'd imagine it being 'paddling' more to get up on the father's back, if that makes sense? It's like the wings are stuck on, or doesn't move naturally ... I'm not quite sure why.
I'm amazed by your use of anatomy on your dinosaurs, they are so beautiful, and looks like animals you've been sitting and studying in a zoo or something ... You make me love dinosaurs more and more for every piece.
1-Young birds fledge. I think that would be a good term.
2-I agree that green would be a likely color to show up, in addition to all the ruddy browns, muted grays, and black and white plumage variations we are aware of in the fossil record at this point in time. I also like to think that blue occurs, although it is probably rare.
3-Any small dino-bird needs to be carried. It amplifies its cute factor by a billion.
4-I think this is very likely to occur...
5-Legwings to feet...I must read up on this...
If you can ever find the time, I'd like to see you sketch out some scenes from my novel-in-progress...wink wink, nudge nudge...
Aww... This is a very cute and pleasant scene. I just love their colors and family interactions & of course all of the information in the description.
It is so fun to see awesome pictures of fluffy Deinonychi.
But the chick doing WAIR got a question into my head... How high could Deinonychus lift there arms above their heads? Because the chick is lifting them farther than I thought they could.
Thank you, and have a good day.
Oh pooy, I was hoping Deinonychi could raise there arms that high, because it would make raised arms easier to draw .
I have heard that theory of flying/ gliding babies several times before... but it always seemed a bit too strange for me to draw, even if I doodle flying adult Deinonychi on my homework journal a lot.
Beautiful scene Emily that is also the way how I like to think about dromaeosaur packs and it's nice to see someone else who depict baby non-avian dinosaurs riding on the back of their parents
p.s. THEY ARE SO CUTE