Meet Picasso. This quiet softie loves spending time with his special person. Snuggling under the tree to hear a good story? That sounds like a lovely way to spend a warm afternoon. 🙂
He could see her across the field with his keen, yellow eyes. A fence separated him from her as she rested beneath the shade of a tall, prickly cycad palm. Was that a hint of rosy pink wattles? A flash of golden eyes beneath the soft brown of the half-moon crest that crowned her delicate white head? He wasn’t sure, but a gentleman must always look his best in front of a lady, so he arched his long neck and raised his scaly tail.
With each step he lifted a bird-like, three-toed foot high, and set it down so that not a grain of gravel was misplaced. Not a single scrubby twig shifted. He followed the fence, his fur-like feathers barely brushing against the wire grid too high to jump. Dry ferns and prickly scrub grew through the empty spaces at the foot of the fence, but ahead there was an emptiness in the dense line of browning vegetation. And the fence…the fence was gone!
Picasso stopped, nostrils flaring and head turned until he was looking at the space sideways. He patrolled this section of fence every day. But between the large rock ahead of him and a scraggly clump of hard cycad fronds, the fence was gone.
Picasso straightened his wattled neck and looked back at his lady resting under the cycad palm. She was poking her delicate snout into the undergrowth, paying no attention. Good. He relaxed and dropped his head a little, cocking it first this way then that as he eyed the ground. Every now and again he reached down with his short arms and picked up a rock with stubby, clawed fingers. He was so engrossed he didn’t even notice when a second flamboyant gentleman strutted alongside him.
A flash of red caught his attention, and he looked up. Another yellow eye stared back at him. Twin half-moon crests of red and black horn, with long blue feathers fanned between them in alarm. Picasso swelled a little at the sight of the intruder’s lack of confidence, and stood tall.
The intruder rose up and arched his long neck too, wattles wobbling like a turkey’s along the length of his throat, and burning deep red. Picasso refused to be intimidated and stamped his foot, and his rival kicked at the ground with scaly clawed feet. His tail lashed to one side like a whip.
For an instant, Picasso glanced over to the cycad where his lady sat, and snorted. She was watching. Now his reputation was at stake. He returned his attention to the intruder and arched his neck forward with a challenging hiss. Did his rival hiss in return? Surely he did. He shook his head from side to side in a motion that vibrated down his long neck and ruffled the pattern of his feathered body down to his tail. The challenger did not back down.
He darted forward. Staggered back. Shook the stars out of his vision and the smarting pain at the snaggle-toothed end of his thin snout. His rival shook his head and stared back at him, equally hurt and surprised. Good. Picasso darted again, kicking with powerful clawed feet and snapping with needle-sharp teeth, arms spread wide to grapple his opponent.
But his feet slid against a smooth, hard surface. His clawed fingers slipped and found nothing to hold onto. The end of his notched snout smarted and stung. He tumbled back into a flustered heap, tail flailing as his feet scrabbled for a foothold onto solid ground. Together with his battered adversary, Picasso unfolded from the ground with slow dignity. His rival looked ruffled, a few teeth sticking out at odd angles at the end of the bruised snout, and Picasso waited a few polite moments for him to back down.
The golden eye watching him stared back with the intensity of a hawk, but his high blue crest slowly smoothed down against the feathers of his neck. Was he considering backing down as much as he was? Picasso took the moment to glance over at the small cycad grove, but his lady was gone.
The challenger still stood in front of him, but he looked much less intimidating with his smooth feathers and drooping tail. Then, as if with an unspoken agreement, both dilophosaurus lowered their heads and continued side by side along the line of browning foliage. Alone, Picasso patrolled the fence line.
Looks like Picasso needs a bit of an update. Some of these critters change a bit in appearance as I get new info, or reevaluate previous info. For example, as much as I love a completely fuzzy Picasso, his size and the warmth of his habitat probably means he wasn’t completely covered. If he had feathers at all.
I really like fuzzy Picasso though, so I’ve decided to give him scaly legs, possibly arms, and some nice wattles to help keep him cool in the dry, hot scrublands of Jurassic Arizona. According to my research, Arizona would’ve been similar to how it is now, but just a bit hotter and wetter. So not completely desert. 🙂
Feathers are almost as good as scales for keeping the hot sun off your back, but are a bit hot if you’re completely covered, so that’s why larger birds like emus and ostriches have skin or thinner feathers in areas like the legs, underbelly, underside of the wing arms (for the ostrich of course), and neck. The head and neck is exposed to the harsh sun, but can easily be tucked under the body’s shade if necessary. I can’t help but notice that emus have a nice coat of feathers on their necks, so clearly the neck can vary quite a bit. 🙂
Now without further ado, here are two fully colored dino skulls inspired by Dia de Los Muertos sugar skulls. I hope you had a happy and safe Halloween!
Thank you very much for stopping by! 😀
Coming December 1st…
This bundle of energy is always ready for adventure!