As some of you are surely aware, back in 2010/2011 I worked up a skeletal reconstruction of Utahraptor based on the limited data available from the holotype, using Achillobator and Deinonychus (in that order) to fill in the many gaps that remained. Not long after I was generously given a peek at unpublished material which allowed me to revise (and greatly improved) the skeletal, but I couldn't share it because the material wasn't published.
This left me in a bit of a bind - I always have several skeletals on my hard drive awaiting publication, but in this case I'd already posted an earlier version that I now knew was wrong, and that others were using to base life reconstructions on. So I invented my own "option 3" and posted this image and a note to warn people that the old skeletal was no longer current, even though I couldn't share the new one.
Since summer 2012, the question I have been asked more than any other was, "When will you be able to share the new Utahraptor skeletal???" Well, today is that day. All of the material I used has dribbled out in one form or another, and after speaking with some of the primary researchers (and in honor of #UtahraptorWeek) I am at long last able to present the updated skeletal reconstruction to the world:
Them there are some crazy proportions, right? Utahraptor turns out to be incredibly robust and stocky. It's tail was reduced in length, but also more mobile than other dromaeosaurs. Its torso was really short front-to-back, but had tall neural spines that must have supported powerful back muscles. The legs are clearly not those of a swift long-distance runner, but they are also remarkable robust, and must have been able to withstand (or dish out?) a tremendous amount of force.
Please check out the excellent website for the Utahraptor Project, whose work makes this possible (and is hard at work collecting, preparing, and publishing new data!). If you are able to, I highly recommend supporting them on their GoFundMe page as well.
Special thanks to Jim Kirkland, Mark Loewen, and everyone who has worked on the Utahraptor Project over the years!