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Camptosaurus

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This is Camptosaurus dispar, a 20 foot long herbivorous dinosaur from the Morrison Formation of western North America during the late Jurassic Period. In most paleo-art, it seems that the only purpose in life for this unfortunate animal is to be Allosaurus‘ lunch! It’s not hard to see why – a large meaty animal with little or no defenses.

Camptosaurus was a primitive member of the iguanodonts, a group of ornithopod ornithischians which could chew their food. This act helped them to process their food better which in turn helped their digestive systems to extract more nutrients. One of the most well-known features of the iguanodonts was the presence of a thumb spike. On Iguanodon, the thumb spike was rather large. Being a primitive member of the iguanodont family, Camptosaurus also had a thumb spike, but it was comparatively tiny, almost the same size as its other finger claws, and would have been pretty much useless as a weapon. But hey, we all have to start off somewhere.

Paleontologists are still arguing whether Camptosaurus was primarily bipedal or quadrupedal. Personally, while I believe that Camptosaurus was capable of going down on all fours (making it a “facultative quadruped”), I think that it was bipedal most of the time.

Below are three stages of the same drawing: an outline, an outline with the color patterns drawn in, and finally a finished colored drawing. The drawing was made on printer paper with No. 2 pencil, Crayola colored pencils, and Prismacolor colored pencils.

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