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May 11, 2013
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Rattus Deinonychus by jflaxman Rattus Deinonychus by jflaxman
The mass extinction that took place 65 million years ago wiped out ninety per cent of all vertebrate life. The creatures that survived were not the largest, strongest, fastest or even most intelligent; the future belonged to smaller, more abundant forms of life with higher reproductive rates and less specialised dietary needs.

Rats had long survived, indeed thrived, despite constant human persecution; they spread with those who tried to destroy them, multiplying with the cities that gave shelter and sustenance. When disaster overtook the world they benefited from being able to take refuge underground and eat almost anything; and with their natural enemies gone, along with most competitors, their populations multiplied, migrated and in time diverged. New species emerged to fill the niches of a new ecology that flourished without the interference of industrial societies.

Rattus Deinonychus (terrible claw rat) is an apex predator that retains such ancestral traits as large incisors, grasping forepaws, and a long, mostly hairless tail, though in size and ferocity it greatly exceeds its forebears. No immutable law states carnivores must walk on all fours; and as its second name suggests, R. Deinonychus’ morphology and lifestyle resembles that of ancient dromaeosaurids – a case of convergent evolution. These creatures hunt small game alone and form groups to bring down larger prey. Their tails aid balance while running and jumping, and quarry seized with their forepaws is quickly dispatched with bites and kicks. The quill-like hairs along their spines rise in prelude to attack if they are disturbed while feeding or courting a potential mate.

Other biological traits – an upright stance, binocular vision, opposable thumbs, large brain mass and adult height approaching six feet, to use one ancient measurement – recall another vanished species, and lead some observers to claim that in slightly different circumstances R. Deinonychus would be the creature most likely to develop civilisation; but given its habits and temperament, it is doubtful this alternate world would be any better than our own.
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:iconcaspion161:
caspion161 Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2014
that's a pretty cool rat but how large is is it? and rats are pretty intelligent there one of the smartest creatures and they would probably succeed the mirror test you clould say there the ravens of the rodents
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:iconkaijusaurus387:
kaijusaurus387 Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2014   General Artist
Kinda reminds me of the sumatran rat monkey.
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:iconravingshark:
RavingShark Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
This is sick- in both meanings of the word.
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:iconthegurch:
TheGurch Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2013
wonderful expression. 
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:iconjthmfraek:
JTHMFrAeK Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
AWESOME, dude! Great detail on this one and I'm really loving the colour. The eyes, cheek bones and mouth really jump out at me.
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:iconjpmneg:
JPMNeg Featured By Owner May 16, 2013
Great concept, amazing detail, nuff said
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:iconviergacht:
Viergacht Featured By Owner May 12, 2013  Professional General Artist
Cool! I always liked the idea of future-predator-rats - my own pet rats looooved hunting the occasional cricket or beetle that got into the house. A very believable critter.
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:iconjflaxman:
jflaxman Featured By Owner May 16, 2013
Thanks! If I had to pick some contemporary mammals that would survive a mass extinction rats would be near the top of the list. I'm also interested in the idea of "resurrecting" extinct species through convergent evolution - this concept began as a rat-wolf, progressed to rat-hyaenadon, and became something more exotic. I've got similar ideas roughed out including a bat-based ecosystem (think prehistoric New Zealand without birds!)
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:iconviergacht:
Viergacht Featured By Owner May 17, 2013  Professional General Artist
I've got a bat-based ecosystem, too (Dougal Dixon, gotta give him credit) and I'm interested to see what you come up with!
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:icongodofimagination:
godofimagination Featured By Owner May 11, 2013
Their underground architectural feats would be interesting, as would their sculpting and possibly their ability to recycle.
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