Dinosaur anatomy is a largely unexplored subject in medical and scientific illustration. While paleo-artists produce fantastic artwork of colorful beasts in conceptualized habitats and inspire the design of fictional creatures and movie monsters, accurate research and referential materials are often limited to flat, diagrammatic and simple drawings. Using critical research, and physical evidence, more accurately rendered diagrammatic illustrations of dinosaur reconstructions are possible through the lens of modern medical and scientific illustration techniques for educational purposes. Specifically, I identify the evolutionary relationships of theropod dinosaurs with their extant relatives (bird and crocodilians), study the skulls of a series of theropod dinosaurs and define their physical features and perceived ecological niches in order to create renderings of their jaw musculature and possible reconstructed appearances. Rather than fantastic illustration, the series of 24 skull, muscle and reconstruction illustrations are meant to serve as clear, referential material that outline the homologous jaw muscles of several groups of theropods and draw visual similarity to their modern relatives.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Dinosaurs--Anatomy--Pictorial works; Birds--Anatomy--Pictorial works; Crocodilians--Anatomy--Pictorial works
Department, Program, or Center
Medical Illustration (CHST)
Yeager, Maxwell, "Visualization of Comparative Anatomy: Jaw muscles of Theropod Dinosaurs and their extant relatives; Illustrating the story of functional morphology and evolution" (2016). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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