It occurred that posting seven different threads on the taxonomy of the Dinobots was going to get a little ridiculous so I decided to establish this master thread. I've copied in the Grimlock, Strafe and Snarl. Slug will be written up in the next couple of days. Funsies! ======================================================= So I've been reading threads on this and being generally quite amused. So, to pass a few minutes before I have to head out, I thought it would be fun to sit down and try and finalise Grimlock's specific identification. Now given Grimlock lacks bones, and I'm not technically a dinosaurologist, these will be general identifiers, rather than hard and fast characterisers. First of all, he can be identified as a theropod dinosaur by the combination of a carnivorous dentition, a bipedal parasagittal gait, strong suggestions of endothermy (he probably breathes fire) and having undergone some reduction in the size of his fore-limbs. Now, given Grimlock's robust profile We can further identify he is more derived than the basal Triassic animals such as the small coelurosaurs or basal neotheropodan, suggesting he belongs in either tyrannosauroid coelurosaurs, ceratosauria or tetanurae. However we note that he possess reduced forelimbs which are not only reduced but possess an even number of of externalised digits. This feature is unknown in tetanurae, but present in tyrannosaurid tyrannosaurs and abelisaurid ceratosaurs. Now, we've brought him down to two families. So we need to compare the most easily identified elements we can see in Grimlock's photos i.e. the head and the hands In abelisaurs, the forelimb has undergone severe reduction, with the radius and ulna becoming near rectangular, the wrist becoming immobile and the digits, of which there are four, becoming extremely stubby. This limb is fully functional in terms of up/down forward/backward rotation but incapable of bending and is overall poorly muscled. In tyrannosaurs, the forelimb is simlilarly reduced, but not the the same degree. The arm remains fully functional, bending at the elbow and wrist. The digits are reduced to two externalised and one splint-like internalised. The fingers possess large, strongly recurved claws. Finally, the arm is extremely well muscled for its size, suggesting that while small, it is very powerful. Looking at the skulls of abelisaurs, using Carnotaurus as a proxy, three note worthy features are the jaw, skull length and cranial ornamentation. The lower jaw of Carnotaurus is relatively gracile, and considerably smaller than the upper jaw. This suggests a less than powerful bite, which would mostly functioned best as a grip or soft-tissue assaulter. The skull itself is extremely deep, giving it an almost box-like appearance. It possesses postorbital horns which are oriented laterally, giving the skull profile a T-shaped cross-section when view from the front. The skull of tyrannosaurs, with Tarbosaurus used as a proxy, is shows notable features in the same areas. The lower jaw is deep and robust, with large spike-like teeth. The skull is elongate with a sub-rectangular appearance and there is a lack of lateral horns. While the horns are a problematic issue (one moment please), there is considerably more cross-over in the morphology of the skull and limbs for Grimlock with Tarbosaurus than Carnotaurus. However, horns aside, Grimlock shares some notable differences in the skull morphology with Tarbosaurus. The nose is more boxlike, lacking the slightly rounded snouth and the is a notable dip along the skull line. His skull is also more robust when viewed anteriorly. This suggests features common to Tyrannosaurus. That said, the horns remain problematic, and the forelimbs are remarkably robust. My conclusion is that Grimlock is a Tyrannosaurus, however not a Tyrannosaurus rex. I suggest the erection of a new species, Tyrannosaurus machina. Diagnosable as a Tyrannosaurus possessing unusually long forelimbs and posteriorly facing postorbital horns. ======================================================= Yes, on a Friday afternoon I'm looking for things to procrastinate over, so I decided amuse myself with yet another of these rambles and look at the most troublesome of the Dinobots, Strafe. Why is Strafe troublesome? Remarkably, it's not the two heads. So, working from the POV that Strafe's second head and tail is due to a conjoined abberation...what the hell is he? ------------------------ First of all, Strafe is easily placed in pterosauria based on his being a winged reptile with an elongate rostrum/beak, quadrapedalism, etc etc. I could actually find the paper with all the pterosaur characters but he is definitely a pterosaur. Now things get complicated. He has been announced as being a Pteranodon longiceps, a well known pterosaur from the Niobara Formation in the us. For reference here's the skull of the typical Pteranodon And here's Strafe The skull structure is completely different. He's got teeth, his crest extends quite far in front of his eyes and not very far away from the back of the skull (seen in females and juveniles, but they don't have an anterior crest). His jaw is much shorter jaw full of teeth. If we look at the body, Strafe has very lark foreclaws and an elongate tail. He's nothing like the more lightly built Pteranodon, or any animal in the Pteranodon lineage, with the possible exception of Istiodactylus but that has a highly distinct dentition lacking here. So he's definitely not a Pteranodon. Could he be another "advanced pterosaur". Well no. Even though some Cretaceous pterosaurs retained their teeth, none retained a long tail. So is he something along the line of Rhamphorhynchus or some of the earlier pterosaurs? No again. Strafe has a large "blank area" near the frontal crest which is positioned in the same place as the large skull window seen in "advanced" pterosaurs. This means that Strafe cannot be basal, and in fact shows both basal and derived features. So Strafe is a bizzare hybrid, a chimera of some sort from some unknown group. No. Again. In 2009 we found this animal Darwinopterus is considered a key evolutionary step. It has the head of an [advanced pterosaur and the body of a basal one. It is literally like you chopped the head off of one and glued it onto another. Which is pretty much what Strafe is. So amazingly Strafe is a Darwinopterus type animal, belonging to the family Wukongopteridae. However he is definitely not Darwinopterus. Size apart (Darwinopterus is quite small), he's construction is considerably more robust, with massive forelimbs and a heavy set skull. His jaw is shorter, his teeth do not extend to the tip, his tail is proportionally much longer, he has a unique crest morphology etc. Strafe is the most robust wukongopterid known, and should be put in an entirely new genus and species. Perhaps something like Robustodraco but that's debatable. Regardless, Strafe has the interesting honour of being the first wukongopterid on the big screen. Ever. ======================================================= Heading to my bed but thought i'd have some fun beforehand. So, you get a double one today...FUNSIES! Plus this is going to be a properly short one. So, what is Snarl, the guy who may not be in the movie. Snarl is interesting because he's by far the most conservative of the dinobots. He lacks many of the exaggerated features of the others, so it makes my job easier. Despite several people's arguments of ankylosaur features, Snarl is almost indistinguishable from the Stegosauridae. The elongate and thin head, the relatively thin body, the sagittal plates and the tail spikes (thagomizers), classic stegosaurid. The lack of strongly spike-like plates or well developed shoulder spikes exclude all but perhaps...four taxa, all of which are in the Stegosaurinae. (god bless wiki_ Miragaia is distinguished from Snarl due to its quite thin plates and its hyper-elongate neck. Wuerhosaurus has quite bizarre square plates so shouldn't be included. This leaves us with Hesperosaurus And of course Stegosaurus Unfortunately...this is kinda where we hit a wall. Both of these animals have diamond plates...and given the limited information Snarl presents us, that's basically our big identifier. The arrangement of the plates varies based on reconstruction. Hell, even the number of thagomizers can vary at times. At this data scale it would be difficult to establish genus or species, whether its something new or just a variant within a taxon. This gives us our first stonewalling, and spoiler, not our last. I cannot in good conscience place Snarl in either an established taxon or a new one. I can however give him a family level identification, and I argue that Snarl is an indeterminate stegosaurine stegosaurid. Sadly, I don't think a strong enough argument can be made to get better taxonomic resolution.