The bird-like qualities of the large dromaeosaurid Deinonychus (D. antirrhopus) have been captured in this superb dinosaur-themed artwork by the Chinese palaeoartist Zhao Chuang. This is one of our favourite illustrations of this enigmatic, fast-running Theropod, finally named and described in 1969.
An Illustration of the Large North American Dromaeosaurid Deinonychus antirrhopus
Picture Credit: Zhao Chuang
A Modern Interpretation with a Retrospective Look
This beautifully-crafted image was created quite recently (2016, we think), but the choice of colours and the muted tones of the backdrop give this image quite a retrospective look. It is reminiscent of the prehistoric animal illustrations that featured in the Brooke Bond Picture Cards series “Prehistoric Animals”, that was first published in the early 1970’s, ironically, just a few years after Deinonychus (which features in the card set), was named and described).
The artist has taken great care to depict this three-metre-long predator as an active, agile animal just as the palaeontologist John Ostrom envisioned it in his ground-breaking work that led to a complete re-think about the Dinosauria. This revolution in thinking about the dinosaurs and their close relatives was termed the “dinosaur renaissance”. The idea that these were slow-moving, clumsy, stupid animals was swept away and there was a definitive move towards portraying dinosaurs as animals that were as well adapted to their environments as modern mammals.
Zhao Chuang shows Deinonychus as a social animal, moving in a flock and at speed too. The killing second-toe claw is raised off the ground as this dinosaur moves and it possesses a shaggy integumentary covering of simple feathers on its body as well as pennaceous feathers on its arms. The yellow eye with its slit pupil gives this dinosaur a particularly frightening look. A flock of Deinonychus heading your way would have been a terrifying sight.
It is a pleasure for Everything Dinosaur to highlight the artwork of Chinese palaeoartist Zhao Chuang. Today, we feature one of our favourite illustrations of Deinonychus.