Cousin to Pigeons

By Carl Zimmer | February 21, 2008 10:19 am

Jeremiah Drewel, a geology student at the University of Alaska writes, “This is my personal favorite Deinonychus!”

Carl: Deinonychus holds a special place in the history of paleontology. Its remains were first discovered in 1931 in Montana, but for decades they languished, unstudied, at the American Museum of Natural History. In the 1960s Yale paleontologist John Ostrom discovered a wealth of new fossils from the same species and began to contemplate what the animal was like in real life. At the time, dinosaurs were still widely considered to be sluggish scaly lumps. But Ostrom argued that Deinonychus was for more active, able to keep its stiffened tail straight out behind its body. He argued that they may have even been warm-blooded. Ostrom also noticed a number of similarities in Deinonychus’s skeleton and those of birds. He revived an old theory that birds are dinosaurs, and argued they were closely related to Deinonychus. It’s a connection now almost universally accepted by paleontologists.Deinonychus changed the way we see birds, but birds have also changed the way we see Deinonychus. Many relatives of Deinonychus–non-flying dinosaurs–show evidence of primitive feathers. Velociraptor, a close relative of Deinonychus, had what look like quill knobs on its bones. It’s plausible that Deinonychus itself was covered in feathers of some sort as well, which it might have used to attract mates. Depending on what paleontologists discover in years to come, Jeremiah may need to get re-inked.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Science Tattoo Emporium

Comments (29)

  1. M

    The quality of work is spectacular! It almost tempts me to get a tattoo. Almost.

  2. Amy

    WOW! Where did you get this done?!?!

  3. Josh

    This is a truly excellent tattoo, and a subject close to my heart: Deinonychus was always one of my faves (that big toe claw!).

    I was disappointed that Jurassic Park chose to spotlight Velociraptor instead…

    Who is the tattoo artist?

  4. April
  5. Kat Fanton

    I am actually lost for words, having just been doing research for my next dinosauria tattoo and coming over this, made my day.

  6. Hapax Legomina

    This is one of the most gorgeous tattoos I have ever seen. You have one of the best artists in the world. That’s simply incredible.

  7. karmelrio

    Beautiful depiction of the sunlight coming through the trees! Gorgeous work.

  8. Dennis Wakeley

    That is just beautiful! What great craftmanship!

    I just loooove black & grey tattoos!

  9. Pamela

    Please! Who is the artist and what shop are they based at? This is a phenomenal piece of art! I am looking for someone to do my next tattoo!

  10. regev

    who in the name of jesus is the artist?

  11. wdwyer

    Incredible artwork! So, who is the artist?

  12. Whoo did this tattoo , the name of the artist would be nice.

  13. Jeremiah

    The artist is Reed Leslie at the Hole Look in Anchorage, AK

  14. carrot

    Well done, Reed Leslie. I usually don’t like shading but this is amazing.

  15. James

    that is an amazing tat! honestly one of the best i have ever seen

  16. Check out the jungle scene sleeve he did.

  17. Miss Jess

    Holy smokes, that’s really beautiful. Thanks for sharing the artist’s name! Nicest piece of work I’ve seen in a loooooong time!

  18. Danilo Brazil

    the most incredible tattoo and well done that I have ever seen! congratulations!

  19. J

    That is seriously the best tattoo I have ever seen, congratulations.

  20. Chris

    This really is a particularly beautiful piece of art.

  21. Vivian

    Where are the feathers?

  22. Molly

    I think I just fell in love.

  23. Jade

    This is so awesome…Great artwork. The artist of this piece is phenomenal!

  24. Elizabeth

    This is the most eye-catching amazing tattoo i have ever seen. I’m curious how many hours of work this took?

  25. Jeremiah

    about 18-20 hours. not continuous though. about 4 sessions.

  26. Kristen

    This looks like an illustration from the book Dinotopia. I loved that book when I was younger, and still do. Beautiful!

  27. Chris

    Reed is an amazing artist here in Anchorage. Everyone in my family has work by him. I’m pretty sure I saw that this piece won an award.


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The Loom

A blog about life, past and future. Written by DISCOVER contributing editor and columnist Carl Zimmer.

About Carl Zimmer

Carl Zimmer writes about science regularly for The New York Times and magazines such as DISCOVER, which also hosts his blog, The LoomHe is the author of 12 books, the most recent of which is Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed.


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