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Dinosaur Classification Simplified by EWilloughby Dinosaur Classification Simplified by EWilloughby
This is a much simpler examination of dinosaur relationships than most of my watchers would probably find useful. Most of you will know that theropods are broken up into tetanurans and ceratosaurs, and that birds are nested within coelurosaurs, and that there are many internal divisions within sauropods and ornithiscians as well. But this chart is intended to be more of a quick, concise reference for laypeople, teachers, children, or whoever might have a passing interest in dinosaurs. My hope is that anyone who wants to quickly figure out what major group any given dinosaur falls into can glance at this chart and know immediately. 

This was a collaboration between myself and Agahnim - I did the illustrations, and he did all of the layout and text. To see this chart in full resolution, please consider buying a poster in my Zazzle shop.
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:iconart-minion-andrew0:
Art-Minion-Andrew0 Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2015  Professional General Artist
I always wonder why there are no predatory Ornithischican dinosaurs...
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:iconcuddlesaurus21:
cuddlesaurus21 Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Very helpful! :nod:
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:iconeye-of-tengri:
eye-of-tengri Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2015
Nice. I've also been working on some classification charts (not dinosaurs) though, and I like seeing how artists try to organize the taxa visually.
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:iconthat-one-guy-arsenio:
This is amazing! well done! I love dinosaurs and this! this is amazing! absolutely awesome!! Excite Spasm Excite Spasm Excite Spasm Excite Spasm Excite Spasm Excite Spasm Excite Spasm 
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:iconalexraccoonglider:
AlexRaccoonGlider Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
This might help me in the near future =3
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:iconaerodynamicbear:
aerodynamicbear Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2014
Awesome !
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:iconrickraptor105:
RickRaptor105 Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2014
Ah, I remember these kinds of "Dinosaur Classification for beginners" from many of my dinosaur books and even the lecture of my Geology professor last month. To me they always seem so odd because of the high discrepancy in species numbers in the different orders.

On the one hand you have Pachycephalosauria with maybe a dozen species, many of them very fragmentary, on the other hand you have Theropoda, which has anything from Microraptor to Carnotaurus to Spinosaurus to Therizinosaurus to Tyrannosaurus. And donīt get me started on the diversity of modern birds.

No wonder Tom Holtzīs Dinosaur Encyclopedia has 9 chapters of theropods as opposed to 1-3 chapters for any other dinosaur order.
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:icongarrykirsch:
GarryKirsch Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
Very nice work! Congrats!
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:iconteddyblackbear2040:
TeddyBlackBear2040 Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Nicely done 
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:iconsnakeman2013:
Snakeman2013 Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2014   General Artist
Very good job. The models are nice, and it's educating too
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:iconedaphosauruspogonias:
EdaphosaurusPogonias Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
The inclusion of Stygimoloch seems a little odd to me, due to its doubtful nature as its own Genus
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:iconkeight:
keight Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2014
Very nicely done. You make a very good team.
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:icondarklord86:
darklord86 Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2014
Awesome!
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:iconkomodogorgosaurus895:
KomodoGorgosaurus895 Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I love it! great job to you and Agahnim!
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:iconjulio-lacerda:
Julio-Lacerda Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Interesting to see that you've illustrated Coelophysis and Plateosaurus with feather covering. Does that reflect your personal opinion? (Just curious :))
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:iconewilloughby:
EWilloughby Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2014  Professional General Artist
The Plateosaurus isn't meant to be fuzzy, actually, though I can see how it sort of looks that way shrunk down. The original illustration is meant to just give it a brown kind of saddle-like marking across its shoulders. Here's how it looks at full size: i.imgur.com/xlp3zQM.png

I tried to be mostly conservative in choice of integument in this chart, given that its purpose is to educate laymen about the known facts of dinosaur anatomy and classification, rather than my own personal theories, but I couldn't avoid giving some primitive fluff to Coelophysis. It's hard to imagine a small, active, bipedal carnivore not having at least a little fluff, and it represents the possibility that feathers might be basal to all of Theropoda. Given the close relationship of basal theropods to basal sauropodomorphs, I wouldn't be surprised if prosauropods had some fluff, too. 

There are a few other animals in this chart where I'd choose to give them fluff in a more artistic rendition of my own rather in a (nearly) purely data-based chart, like Hypsilophodon.
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:iconjulio-lacerda:
Julio-Lacerda Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Oh, sorry. I did think it was a partial cover of feathers, though I found it kind of weird how Manospondylus appears to be all scaly. Thanks for sharing the original picture.

Well, fuzzy primitive ornithischians are big yes in my book, according to Tianyulong (and the purpoted feathered ornithopod from Siberia) although I'm unsure on what that means for other ornithischians and derived ornithopods from which we have definitive scaly impressions and no signs of feathers.

I'm really sitting on the fence with sauropodomorphs in general though, as well as non-coelurosaurian theropods. It's confusing to think that some theropod clades may have lost their feathers, such as abelisaurids, while others retained them even in great sizes such as tyrannosauroids.

Feathers are so complicated.
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:iconblazze92:
bLAZZE92 Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2014

Fuzzy primitive ornithischians don't necessarly clash with the evidence of scales in more derived members of the clade, apparently, known dinosaur scales resemble bird scales, which are not homologous with crocodile and lizard scales in neither morphology or development, it's entirely possible that bird "scales" (and dinosaur scales) are actually feather derivatives.

dinogoss.blogspot.mx/2013/09/y…

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:iconvoidrae:
Voidrae Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
yes yes yes yes yes yes
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:iconwillemsvdmerwe:
WillemSvdMerwe Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2014

Oh and that was quick, fixing the ankylosaurus!  Looks great now ... I wish there was more available about the reconstruction of ankylosaurs and figuring out just where and how all the plates and spikes and bumps all fit in together.


Also ... I did find it jarring to read about *some* classification systems including birds as theropods ... it somehow seemed to remind me of the fringe group that denies birds being dinosaurs.  But ... to my mind we shouldn't throw overboard classification systems in which birds constitute an entire class.  We can classify things according to different criteria, not only phylogenetic relationships, and one goal I see of classification is to help us remember and understand as many different living things as possible, and for this we can group them in different ways.  A strict cladistics classification of all living things would mean we need to throw away pretty much all the labels that we use.  Strictly, mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians will fall under fish, and fish will be classified as who knows what.  I personally think we can use 'old fashioned' categories along with new ones ... we can know birds are dinosaurs but still speak of birds, without necessarily getting confused.

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:iconagahnim:
Agahnim Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2014
Yeah, this is basically the same thing I was saying in my exchange with Tomozaurus here.

I've already changed the wording once in that part of the image, to make it clearer that the dispute is only over what classification system to use, not over birds' phylogenetic position.  Do you think the meaning of this part of the image is still unclear?  If you do, I'm not sure how to make it clearer than it is already, so I'd like to know if you have a suggestion about it.
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:icontomozaurus:
Tomozaurus Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2014  Student General Artist
It is better now. Just thought though, could it not just say "birds are decended from this group"? This does not clash with either classification system and sort of gels with the subtitle you have under ornithischia as well.
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:iconagahnim:
Agahnim Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2014
Even if the chart itself isn't going to be based on PhyloCode, I think the fact that PhyloCode includes birds as a type of theropod is significant enough that it ought to be mentioned.  This is also how I handle it in my chapter of the evolution book.  The chapter mostly uses Linnaean classification, but it's more informative if I explain the other system even though I'm not using it.
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:icontomozaurus:
Tomozaurus Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2014  Student General Artist
Fair enough.
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:iconwillemsvdmerwe:
WillemSvdMerwe Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2014
It's pretty OK now.  I think you'll have some controversy no matter what you say.  You can't really make the intricacies of classification clear in a simple poster like this.  You could say something that avoids 'absolutes' of categories, for instance 'birds are descended from theropods, and therefore a branch (not shown) actually goes from here that grows into the entire bird family tree'.
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:iconwillemsvdmerwe:
WillemSvdMerwe Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2014
Very nice poster!  I would of course love a more elaborate one, but for the purpose this seems very much all right, I think people who look at it will get in a single view a good sense of dino diversity and where what fits in!
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:iconsasiadragon:
Sasiadragon Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I think these illustrations are very neat, and they're kinda simple but still educating. Now, I'm not at all and expert, but I think I heard that some Ceratopsians might have had a bit of fluff as well, probably fur. Is that totally inaccurate? Nice colours on the dinos :3
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:icondinobirdman:
DinoBirdMan Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2014  Student Artist
Awesome job!:)
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:iconcyraptor:
CyRaptor Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2014
I think the cartoonier, more simplified style actually works really well here since it allows for quick identification of features and body shapes, which is perfect for what the poster sets out to do. Anatomy and everything looks good to me (though I'm hardly an expert), but I think I would've like to have seen a bit more color in the dinosaurs? I dunno, I'm pretty conservative with coloration myself, but at a glance the whole thing looks a little too grayish-brownish.

I have a few suggestions about selection of species and whatnot, but I've left that over on Aggie's page since I guess that's his arena.

Sorry if I'm being overly critical, since I'm not the target audience or anything! I just think it's a really neat idea for a poster.
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:icongermanvisitor:
germanvisitor Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2014
"Some well-known heterodontosaurs: Tianyulong [...]" Are you mocking us? :O_o:
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:iconewilloughby:
EWilloughby Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2014  Professional General Artist
Er... how do you mean? 
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:icongermanvisitor:
germanvisitor Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2014
Perhaps I lost my touch but this one does not seem to be that famous. ;-)
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:iconjeda45:
Jeda45 Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2014
Probably because of the dinofuzz, maybe it isn't a famous genus but it is an important one.

Maybe this is my own bias, but I can't help but feel theropods are underrepresented here. Dilophosaurus is more famous, thanks to Jurassic park despite all its inaccuracies, than at least half of the dinosaurs here, as is Spinosaurus. Both look pretty distinctive too. The lack of oviraptorosaurs, ornithomimosaurs, and therizinosaurs is also a bit surprising, and Ceratosaurus and Carnotaurus are both good, second- or third-tier dinosaurs (Disney's Dinosaur, anyone?). Besides, abelisauroids were common and diverse in Cretaceous Gondwana.

I like the ornithischian and sauropodomorph parts a great deal, though, although I suspect a sauropod lover would disagree with me there. I probably am going to have to use this to explain to my friends what I'm talking about sometimes. It's got some really pretty dinosaurs too, the Velociraptor and Tianyulong in particular. I guess I'm partial to bold patterns on the head.
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:iconashere:
Ashere Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This is really beautiful stuff. 
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:icondeinonychusempire:
DeinonychusEmpire Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Very cool! I absolutely love that Velociraptor.
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:iconewilloughby:
EWilloughby Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2014  Professional General Artist
Thanks! I'm working on another illustration (a large traditional painting) of a dromaeosaur using the same basic color scheme.
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:iconflufdrax:
flufdrax Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
This is something that would do very well in a museum.  i need to show my boss this and perhaps commission you (both) to make one of these featuring more North American dinos. :)
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:iconartweak:
artweak Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2014
This is pretty good, keep it up! ;)
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:iconpumpkinchans:
PumpkinChans Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
This would be great for like small kids. Like a poster.
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:iconhoshi-hana:
Hoshi-Hana Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I absolutely love this :heart:
I have always taken a great interest in dinosaurs and this is really a well-done collaboration :D

Excellent!
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:icontomozaurus:
Tomozaurus Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2014  Student General Artist
I'm a bit suprised by your very outdated Ankylosaurus reconstruction, Emily... Not to toot our own horn, but I'd check out the Saurian version for an up-to-date reconstruction.
Also "according to some definitions birds are a type of theropod" is suprising from you a well. In what definitions are they not, aside from obsolete or crackpot definitions?
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:iconagahnim:
Agahnim Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2014
Educated people generally don't argue anymore with the idea that birds are directly descended from theropods, but according to the formal classification system of the ICZN, Aves is still a separate class from Dinosauria.  Or at least that's how it was in 2009, which is the date of the most recent source I've read discussing this.  (Peter Wellnhofer's Archaeopteryx: The Icon of Evolution.)  Wellnhofer makes the point that as long as Linnaean classification remains in widespread use, it's inevitable that the divisions between groups will be somewhat arbitrary.

Anyone who wants to lobby the ICZN to stop using Linnaean taxonomy has my support.  But until they do, Linnaean taxonomy and PhyloCode are both valid systems of classification.  I don't think it's fair to tell people they're wrong just because they use they the system that the ICZN does, as long as they understand that having Aves as a separate class is just a matter of bookkeeping, and not reflective of anything in biology.
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:icontomozaurus:
Tomozaurus Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2014  Student General Artist

The problem is that this is intended as an educational piece and the way it's worded, to me at least, makes it seem like there is some sort of controversy or that there are competing ideas which isn't really the case. Surely the idea here is to teach the layman about dinosaur phylogeny and I don't feel like it's getting the full message across. Avialae is within theropoda. If it were me I would have gone as far as to include an image of a bird in the infographic. It's not me though, so do what you wish.

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:iconagahnim:
Agahnim Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2014
The point of this chart is to educate people about the way dinosaurs currently are classified.  When we're trying to educate lay people about this, I don't think we should be presenting ideas that haven't been formally adopted yet as though they have been.

There's no real controversy in paleontology over whether birds are phylogenetically nested within theropoda, but you seem to be under the impression that PhyloCode also has already been universally adopted, and that isn't actually the case.  It's obviously the most popular classification system in the online paleo community, but if you look in something like an ornithology textbook (I just checked one), you'll see birds still listed in their own class that's separate from Dinosauria.  However, I'll change this part of the chart to make it clearer that the controversy is only over classification, not over what the relationships are.
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:icontomozaurus:
Tomozaurus Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2014  Student General Artist
Just to clarify: I don't want that to sound like I'm saying you should take a purely palaeontological stance (by which I mean to educate people about the way dinosaurs currently are classified in palaeontology), you are equally entitled not too. But it confuses me a little as you seem to take the palaeontological stance yourself.
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:iconagahnim:
Agahnim Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2014
I try to make a distinction between what system I favor personally, and what system is currently most widely-used.  When I'm making something that's intended to educate lay people, I think it's important to present whatever idea is most widely-adopted, regardless of how I personally feel about it.  I think Matt understands this also, since he's one of the main authors of Wikipedia's Jeholornis article, which lists the class as Aves instead of Archosauria or Dinosauria, even though I imagine Matt probably doesn't agree with that classification system personally.
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:icontomozaurus:
Tomozaurus Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2014  Student General Artist
The difference tere is that Matt is restricted to whatever the convention on Wikipedia is, whereas this is entierly your own work and you are free to do as you like. Plus, listing it as aves is not wrong, Jeholornis is a member of aves and dinosauria and archosauria. But again this is a double-edged sword and you are free to equate linnean taxonomy to phylocode if you like. I feel a bit like I'm trying to muscle you into doing as I want now, and that is not what I ever intended.
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:iconagahnim:
Agahnim Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2014
Discussing this isn't a problem for me; it is something I feel fairly strongly about.  Not that I think people shouldn't use PhyloCode, but that I think people shouldn't be judged for still using Linnaean classification as long as it's what the ICZN uses.

The point I'm making about Jeholornis is that if it's classified in Aves at the class level, it can't also be classified in Saurischia or Theropoda under the same system.  The Linnaean rank for Saurischia is an order, and Theropoda is a suborder, so if Aves is going to be given a Linnaean rank and also be nested within Theropoda, its rank has to be somewhere around the family level.  I think I may have misunderstood the point you were making about this, so please let me know if I'm not addressing it.

At Wikipedia, the convention is always to present whatever ideas are currently most mainstream and widely-accepted.  (Not that articles there always do that, but it's what's they're supposed to do.)  That's probably why most of the articles there are still using the Linnaean system.  I imagine Matt wouldn't necessarily be using that system if Wikipedia didn't have this rule, but it's still the same basic idea of trying to present whatever idea is widely-accepted, regardless of one's own viewpoint.
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:icontomozaurus:
Tomozaurus Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2014  Student General Artist
That is actually what I mean: that the text makes it seem as if there is controversy over the relationships. If you're changing that then it should be fine.

Another point though: you are allowed to take a purely palaeontological stance.
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:iconewilloughby:
EWilloughby Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2014  Professional General Artist
That part was written by Agahnim, and I griped with him about that as well - he can comment here to explain himself he'd like (he wrote all the text, I just did the illustrations).

As for the Ankylosaurus, I used a Greg Paul skeletal but I also have very little experience drawing ankylosaurs so I'd be happy to learn more about what's off about it, if you wouldn't mind giving me some pointers.
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