Hands and Arms

Since the large dromaeosaurids descend from small flying dinosaurs, they share a lot of arm anatomy with animals such as Archaeopteryx. They have long, strong arms, suitable for grasping. They can fold these appendages tightly like a bird.

Raptors have 3 fingers, the shortest being the thumb, and the longest being the middle finger. The thumb and the pinkie have more mobility, the pinkie being the most flexible, but the middle finger is not totally immobilized.

Raptor fingers lack the nimbleness of human fingers, and should not be drawn as such. These hands also naturally sit on an angle on the wrist, unlike human hands. A resting Raptor hand will sit naturally with it's thumb at the front, and the palms facing inward. The wrist configuration is what allows the hand to fold so tightly. The lower arm is comprised of two bones, like a human's, and so there is some degree of rotation. The arms were built to make fast, powerful grabs at prey: moving first upwards, and then down and forwards (much like a bird's wing stroke).

Fingers should resemble the toes of birds: being bony and scaled. The skin should be pebbled and rough. The areas under the fingers should be semi-padded and scaly. When fleshing out the arm, keep in mind it's function: there is no need for articulate movements, only grabbing. They must not look like human arms, as they serve a different function.

The above illustration shows how the feathers should come out of the middle finger. Arms were most likely appendages used for display. Naturally this would lend itself to sometimes drawing long display feathers on the arms. Refrain from giving larger species "wings," as the big Raptors did not evolve for gliding, and thus would not have feather orientation like birds (no primaries, or complex layering). The proto feathers would probably be bristly at the tops, with the long display feathers towards the bottom. Just how they look is up to your imagination, go nuts, but remember that they must be functional. It would not do well to have flopping feathers in the way while trying to bring down a hadrosaur.

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All content © 2004 H. Kyoht Luterman unless otherwise noted