underpainting for #Psittacosaurus
mongoliensis. During the Early Cretaceous (126 to 101 million years ago) on what would become the Asian continent there roamed a large group of relatively little dinosaurs; these tiny parrot faced ceratopsians may not have been that imposing, in comparison to their later cousins like horned Triceratops, Styracosaurus, or Pentaceratops, but they would become some of the best known and most important dinosaurs ever found by humans.
Psittacosaurus is known from many specimens (some very complete ones) and many different species that have been described by science as "valid," right now there are around 9 or 10 recognized species but that has been paired down from at least 14 or more.
This sort of thing does happen a lot in paleontology, often specimens are fragmented or distorted during the fossilization process or their are differences in body shape that are initially thought to indicate different species but end up being just differences in gender, age, or region. Some animals are very diverse in their size and shape when compared to others, such physical differences don't always indicate speciation however As one example Humans are very diverse in terms of height, weight, skin, eye, and hair color, and a whole host of other features but despite such differences we are all part of the same species.
P. mongoliensis is one the largest species currently identified, measuring about 6.5 feet and weighing in at around 44 pounds, their were other species that were larger but none that were that much bigger. Psittacosaurs also had what appear to be bristle-like feather structures on their tails, evidence suggest they were covered in sheaths of keratin.
Psittacossaurus is one of the best known dinosaur genera, I could literally go on forever going over all the cool stuff that has been found about this little fellow. But for now I think I'll leave it here.
#dinosaur #ornithopod #cretaceous #paleo #paleontology #paleoart #sciart #dinovember #educational #naturalhistory #extinction #extinctanimals #digitalart #digitalillustration #illustration #art #painting #drawing #maine #maineart #newengland #artistsoninstagram