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A Young Hunter in the Clay by Qilong A Young Hunter in the Clay by Qilong
My favorite theropod when I was growing up, Eustreptospondylus oxoniensis (from the Oxford Clay, a mid-Jurassic English near-marine deposit) was at first the most svelte, and at second the most elegant mid-sized theropod I could find. Greg Paul's reconstruction and art made it seem all the more so. Facts, however, tend to put dampers on romantic views of old specimens. You see, the animal wasn't fully grown, and the proportions of the limbs to the shoulder and pelvic girdles, and unfused vertebrae, suggested it wasn't even close to adult size. There is, of course, few ways to determine exactly how old the specimen is, and no one has had the nerve to cut into the animals femur, tibia, or ribs to count the lines of arrested growth and measure the medullary cavity to check.

That all said .. Eustrepto was considered an allosaur relative by many, with vague hints at megalosaurs. But new data suggests that the megalosaur relationship is more likely to be true, and indeed Eustrepto seems to be a basal megalosauroid not that far removed from the spinosaurs. More interesting is that these animals had relatively small pelvises and huge heads for their size, facts especially ture of close-relative Torvosaurus tanneri. So the seeming proportions as a young animal are somewhat erroneous, and this animal may be close to adult size.

This skeleton reconstruction is based on a single specimen, OUM J13558, which is not complete. Much of the head is present, and the vertebral column, but of the arm and shoulder only the scapula and humerus are present; and of the hip the pubis is missing. These elements were modified from other megalosauroids, and they help demonstrate how very lanky this animal is, but also emphasize how juvenile it seems.

Prepared for an upcoming book on the dinosaurs of the British Isles.
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:iconspongebobfossilpants:
"Eustrepto was considered an allosaur relative by many, with vague hints at megalosaurs."

When was this suggested?
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:iconqilong:
Qilong Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2014
Prior to the megalosaur revolution of the 90s, all generalized "carnosaurs" were associated with allosaurs in general. Specifically, Eustrepto was a small, subadult dinosaur with vague allosaur features in the shape of his skull. Later, these features were found to be plesiomorphic, and were actually indicators of a megalosaur relationship. This actually started in the mid-90s. Ronan Allain's work on Streptospondylus and Dubreillosaurus along with Sadlier's thesis and eventual publication on the osteology of Eustreptospondylus oxoniensis, which firmly placed it as a megalosaur-ally. The shift was more from a general trashbin concept of Carnosauria to a more split up, comb-like arrangement of taxa with two large nodes, one with allosaurs-proper (carcharodontosaurs, allosaurs) and megalosaurs-proper (megalosaurids, spinosaurids, etc.).
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:iconthemeekwarrior:
TheMeekWarrior Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I've been looking around for a nice skeletal reconstruction of Eustrepto, since I've seen many different-looking heads on this dinosaur. Have they found a complete skull yet, or is it just mostly guesswork and some bone fragments?
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:iconqilong:
Qilong Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2014
We have a bit of braincase, quadrate, maxila, premaxilla, dentary. That's a lot to go on. There's some good comparisons with similar, related, megalosaurs like Streptospondylus and Dubreillosaurus that give us more information.
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:iconthemeekwarrior:
TheMeekWarrior Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Okay, cool. :)
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:iconteratophoneus:
Teratophoneus Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2013
excellent, ive always wanted to see a skeletal reconstruction of eustreptopondylus in this way, good job :D
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:iconqilong:
Qilong Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2013
Thanks! Greg Paul had his, and I think there was another produced, but it doesn't see much use. This one's free.
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:iconyo-snap:
Yo-Snap Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2013  Student General Artist
Very cool!!!
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:iconzegh8578:
ZEGH8578 Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2013
I finished an Eustreptospondylus about a year back. I tried to be as accurate as possible, and when I was done I was left with something that I wasn't entirely sure of, the proportions seemed odd.
Now I am very content to see the same proportions here, very long, almost oversized head, slender little legs. Obviously, it was a traditional idea of how it "should" look that was still stuck in my head.
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:iconqilong:
Qilong Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2013
I was rather surprised myself. Afrovenator has some similar proportions, but the pubis is much longer than shown here, though as it turns out, Afro doesn't have a pubis. So the pubis may very well be just as short there as in here. Thus anticipate that Afro would look a lot more like Eustrepto than is shown by Sereno's art and publicity.
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