If you’re gonna make up a dinosaur (or other prehistoric creature) for what is ostensibly a science-fiction movie, it should be spectacular visually, frighteningly foreign yet believable in it’s character and behavior, and it should be based at least loosely on the mountain of surprising and fascinating knowledge about dinosaur anatomy and behavior that scientists and artists around the world have worked tirelessly to discover and communicate over the last several decades. In light of a new Jurassic Park movie coming out that apparently disregards all of that study and discovery, (even with regards to the not-made-up dinosaurs it features) I started drawing made-up dinosaurs that I think would be cool to see in a movie and I’ve been posting them to my twitter feed with the hashtag #BuildABetterFakeTheropod. I’ve decided that for the next week I’m gonna put a new one up every day, in the hopes that people will be intrigued about actual dinosaur science in the process. At the end of the week I’ll throw up a full gallery with all of them.

To start us off, here’s a speculative long-horned relative of the Abelisaur Majungasaurus, dripping with blood from a recent battle, possibly with a rival male. His neck is a swollen mass of fat and connective tissue meant to protect him from the bites, thrusts and slashes of his opponents…

Longhorn Abelisaur

While that horn on it’s head might look a bit ridiculous, it’s only an exaggeration of a feature known from a real Theropod dinosaur, Majungasaurus. Check out the horn-like knob at the top of it’s skull, and bear in mind that the rough knobby bone tissue indicates that there was soft tissue (possibly horn) anchored firmly to it. Also, the particularly robust skull bones are typical of animals whose heads take a lot of impact, which has lead Paleontologists to speculate that Majungasuaurus, and other Abelisaurs such as Carnotaurus may have bashed their heads into things.

Witmer Lab Majungasaurus

Given that spectacular head crests are know from other theropod dinosaurs, it seems reasonable to speculate that long-horned forms may have existed, or that the horn tissue that rotted away greatly enlarged what we see in the bone. Also such features easily result from simple genetic modification by humans (such as selective breeding as in the case domestic livestock). Most importantly, IT WOULD BE AWESOME TO WATCH THEM BATTLE EACH OTHER, or other dinosaurs, or threaten humans with their territorial behavior in a well directed feature film (all of which would be completely in line with modern dinosaur science).

Or if you prefer completely made up mythological prehistoric monsters, only aesthetically inspired by actual paleontology, then there’s this:

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