STL Science Center

STL Science Center

03 August 2013

Look at the Detail

©Kazunari Araki
First of all, that is not a set of toys or digitally created. This is a small sculpture. That in and of itself is pretty amazing. Mr. Kazunari has created sculptures for some of the largest museums in Asia, particularly Japan, and has also written books on the subject of dinosaur sculptures. He has also helped produce model kits for Kaiyodo, a Japanese model making company more famous for their WWII models that dabbles quite a bit in prehistoric creatures as well. The actual statuette (measuring 25x15x25cm) does not have the background shown here but does show Coelurus attacking a small Rhamphorynchus on an oval shaped base. How often a Coelurus would have had this particular meal is something that could be debated, but its hollow vertebrae indicate it was somewhat light skeletally meaning it may have had the speed to sneak up on a landed pterosaur provided it also had the needed stealth to accomplish that feat. Regardless, a wonderful rendition of the small Late Jurassic carnivore.

Looking for artist
The idea of Coelurus as an ornithimimid has been brought to light a few times, though not in peer reviewed discourse, to my knowledge. Rather, Coelurus is considered a Coeulrid, a family that includes many other small Jurassic and Cretaceous carnivores such as Compsognathus and Sinosauropteryx. The main shape of all three dinosaurs is quite similar. Long tails counter-balance a forward leaning running animal allowing it to accelerate, turn, and maintain a top speed with maximum efficiency for the dinosaur's hunting and escape habits. Being a lighter dinosaur Coelurus may have had the ability to climb as well; this is a fairly common sense lifestyle attribution given that the feet of Coelurus are quite avian in its design.

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