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Wyvern Musculature by KatePfeilschiefter Wyvern Musculature by KatePfeilschiefter
Some quickish muscle drawings, as people have been requesting wyvern anatomy and I myself have to figure out what wyverns in Aerie will look like. They'll have to exist alongside the larger hexapods without competing for the same niche. And will most likely be less intelligent and more colonial than their six-limbed cousins. A good comparison between the wyverns and the hexapods in Aerie would be that between wolves and coyotes. Farmers don't like either of them, but one is smaller, more troublesome, and much more numerous.

There are multiple ways to structure a wyvern. Whether they're bird, bat or pterosaur based.
Both of these are very bird like, with keeled sternums, coracoids and furcula.

The first wyvern walks like a bat or a pterosaur would, and can gallop quite quickly when using its wings as forearms. It's thoracic vertebrae is only partially fused, leaving the spine semi- flexible. I imagine this guy as gliding and climbing a lot. This dragon is what an early wyvern could look like when transitioning from a hexapod to a four limbed biped, depending on the phylogeny.

The bottom wyvern is essentially a modified heron, with a birds skeleton. This guy is smaller and can take off much more quickly. He's a bit more like a medieval wyvern with a snakish neck and tail, and a short bulbous midsection.
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:iconkatepfeilschiefter:
KatePfeilschiefter Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks, and sure, go ahead and send me note
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:icondangref:
DanGref Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
It's wonderfull picture and very impresive scientific research abiut dragons' evolution! I'm working about it too - dangref.deviantart.com#/journa…

maybe you would like it and even help me with this hard problem?
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:iconazleah44:
Azleah44 Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you very much!
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:iconkatepfeilschiefter:
KatePfeilschiefter Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Of course, keep in mind though that as this is a mythical creature this isn't the end all be all of references for a wyvern. Just a few of my own ideas on how to create them.
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:iconazleah44:
Azleah44 Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Is this available as an open reference? It would be a great tutorial.
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:icondanielsahn:
Danielsahn Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2012
I really like the detail of these pieces. I'm writing a story that is inclusive of wyverns and feel this does them justice. Also, the wings functioning as forelimbs and the structure of the half-paw that would allow it to be weight bearing is quite original.
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:iconart-by-eos:
Art-by-Eos Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
That one went into the folder the minute I saw it lol
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:iconkatepfeilschiefter:
KatePfeilschiefter Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks! And if you want to see something especially inspired by Todd Lockwood I also have this - [link]
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:iconart-by-eos:
Art-by-Eos Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
This is gorgeous work! It reminds me of the dragon musculature Todd Lockwood made on his website.
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:iconstarmic:
starmic Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2012
OH MY GOSH!!! SO COOL
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:iconkatepfeilschiefter:
KatePfeilschiefter Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks a lot!
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:iconsezaii:
Sezaii Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Awh man, this makes me sooo happy!!!! Someone who actually draws pecs wrapping around the whole body at last XD I know it sounds real sad, but I really get freeked out about how many dragon-artists draw their dragons wither WITHOUT pecs or with them only wrapping around the canine-sized rib cage XD Seriously great work, really shows you want to draw these creatures right, not just draw them ^^ I also love how on the one standing up you have drawn its femur bones longer so when he is on two legs his center of gravity allows him be upright like a bird ^^ many people forget that part! well done, I really admire artists who actually THINK about how anatomy should work XD
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:iconrhov:
Rhov Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks, I'll check those out. I was looking at birds mostly, and pterosaurs for skeletons.
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:iconkatepfeilschiefter:
KatePfeilschiefter Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
I'm glad you find it useful. Remember, nature knows best. Looks at birds, bats and pterosaurs. Some pterosaurs had long tails, and you can find bat walk cycles online.
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:iconrhov:
Rhov Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm working on a novel with wyverns, but I want to describe the movements accurately. How would they look walking? How would they perch? How long would the tail need to be for accurate balance? Etc, etc... I need to visualize it, and that starts with imagining the skeleton and muscles. This is one of the best musculatures I've found so far, very realistic. Thank you! :D
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:iconstreetz86:
streetz86 Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Nice anatomy!
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:iconlordhzero:
lorDHZero Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2012
Nice work !!
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:iconmeihua:
meihua Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2012
Amazing! I was just thinking about wyvern anatomy yesterday. :+fav:
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:iconelementaljess:
ElementalJess Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oooo snazzy, I love this! THanks for sharing.
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:iconumbbe:
umbbe Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Ar, and then I ran out of arguments. Oh well.

It was fun talking to you nonetheless. <lV
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:iconkatepfeilschiefter:
KatePfeilschiefter Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
There would have to be some manner of prey on the island to prevent the dragons from immediately dying out. But as dragons are typically adept swimmers, regardless of their body type, they'd be more likely to become aquatic fishers. But yes, evolution usually tries to take advantage of such situations, so I suppose its feasible some would adapt to eat alternative food sources should they be plentiful.
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:iconumbbe:
umbbe Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Hm, I suppose...
Though I still think it would be a pleasant surprise for a reader to encounter an unexpected adaptation that a species has for a situation.

(For my example that I didn't for some reason say, I was thinking of a situation where a species of dragons got stranded on a small island which can't support predators, and fairly quickly adopt omnivorous habits and mainly a diet of plants.)
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:iconkatepfeilschiefter:
KatePfeilschiefter Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
I think radical changes are covered quite well by the various kinds of dragons, there are some that are amphibious, some that are diggers, other that are fliers, etc. Bears aren't a good comparison, as (aside from the polar bear who doesn't have many dietary options) they have always been omnivores. Brown bears and black bears will eat anything, fruit, seeds, insects, meat, grass, grain, etc. It's more probable that a dragon would become an omnivore than a strict herbivore. I can imagine a wyrm developing into something bear like though, or something like the herbivorous marine iguanas.
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:iconumbbe:
umbbe Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Well, we need to remember that in the old illustrations, people weren't necessarily to scale with each other, they were scaled in order of importance. Unless we are talking about the time when there actually was more perspective in question. :o

Anyway, what about pandas?
Im not saying it's going to happen to everyone, but I think there could at least be a few species that have radically changed their lifestyle due to extreme pressure from environment.
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:iconkatepfeilschiefter:
KatePfeilschiefter Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
A dragon would only be as large as its environment and lifestyle can support. The idea that dragons are large and gigantic is a recent one. If you go back and look at any of the old illustrations of knights slaying dragons, the creatures are all of fairly realistic scale. Some are even tiny. If they found themselves in an environment depleted of food sources, I'd imagine there would be a die off rather than a complete rewriting of their natural history. You also have to consider whether or not there would even be a niche available for such a herbivore, it may already be filled. Such rewriting of a species would only occur if every additional change toward becoming a herbivore was beneficial. Evolution doesn't set out with end goals, it happens bit by bit.
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:iconumbbe:
umbbe Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Hm, unless the environment couldn't support them. :o
Since dragons are often very large, they need a lot of large prey to sustain them. In an environment with hardly any prey, I think there would be at least an omnivore species slowly turning herbivore. (and hey, who says it can't adopt a ground predator lifestyle with the wings turning into claws?)
Personally I find the sixlimbed-but-wingless design fairly intriguing since there really aren't that many people who go for that.
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:iconkatepfeilschiefter:
KatePfeilschiefter Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
I've played around with wyrms structured like that. But as dragons are so predatory in design, I doubt they'd ever evolve to be or ever have a reason to evolve into herbivores.
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:iconumbbe:
umbbe Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Hm, that's true...
How about dragons who have evolved their wings to be an additionary limb (and the frontlegs are then used to grasp/shear plants?)

Maybe you already thought of it. <lV
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:iconkatepfeilschiefter:
KatePfeilschiefter Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
True, I will develop creatures to fill other roles, but dragons, being flying creatures are fairly restricted to a predatory lifestyle. As herbivores require large and heavy guts.
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:iconumbbe:
umbbe Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Alright. :V!
Anything for more species variety than just "large predator". Too many series forget the variety of nature and just have everyone being a top tier predator.
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:iconkatepfeilschiefter:
KatePfeilschiefter Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Probably not, though there will be herbivorous dragon relatives by way of hippogriffs and winged horses (I say horse in a very very loose sense). However, wyverns could likely function as omnivores, similar to certain birds.
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:iconwelosttheribs:
WeLostTheRibs Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I always love your studies.
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:iconumbbe:
umbbe Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Alright. :>
I ran out of arguments, sadly.
However, I still have the argument of allowing for non-predator/carnivore wyverns as well. Shall there be those?
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:icondystatic-studio:
Dystatic-Studio Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Okay, got it. :)
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:iconkatepfeilschiefter:
KatePfeilschiefter Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
It's my own work, though I wouldn't call it an original idea. It's mostly based on bird anatomy
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:icondystatic-studio:
Dystatic-Studio Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Okay. I mean, is that your own idea to draw wyvern anatomy, or there's someone else to help you with it?
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:iconkatepfeilschiefter:
KatePfeilschiefter Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Could you rephrase the question? I'm not quite sure what you're asking.
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:iconkatepfeilschiefter:
KatePfeilschiefter Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Yes, in the Aerie at least, (which is my testing ground for hypothetical creatures such as these) wyverns, being smaller and requiring less space and less food would be more numerous than the large sapient hexapods. I'm going to play around with how different they look from the hexapods aesthetically, as though they are separated by a great swathe of time, they're both aerial predators, and so will retain many similar characteristics. The dragons above are by no way a final design, merely examples of musculature in two extreme variations.
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:icondystatic-studio:
Dystatic-Studio Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
What do you think of both your and their suggestion to draw this? :)
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:iconumbbe:
umbbe Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Ah I see...
That makes sense then. So they actually did diverge quite a long time ago. :V! (solves my 'concern')

There are a lot more wyverns than dragons, then? Hm, maybe having only two feet is more advantageous for perching on cliffs as well?
Imagining large flocks of small wyverns chasing off a dragon from their nesting areas. :o

Im happy that you responded as well, since one never really knows what is the reasoning behind a design choice without the artist telling you. <lV
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:iconkatepfeilschiefter:
KatePfeilschiefter Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you! I love Da Vinci
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:iconkatepfeilschiefter:
KatePfeilschiefter Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
There was no specific person, multiple random people suggested a wyvern sheet.
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:iconkatepfeilschiefter:
KatePfeilschiefter Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
This is a very interesting discussion. I have drawn wyverns before with small limb remnants, but as a limb at that point would be useless, I only drew the anatomy for a completely forelimbless wyvern. I typically imagine wyverns having separated from hexapods at a very early stage in the evolution of dragons, which explains why there is no visible remnant of the lost limbs. Hexapods may have kept their limbs for a number of reasons, such as it being easier to attack prey aerially with the forelimbs rather than the hindlimbs with so long of a body, they can use their front arms for digging, fighting, and manipulating objects, and they'd be likely to run more quickly on all fours than if they were bipedal.

The downsides to this is the added weight and the added length of body. A hexapodal dragon could not take off as quickly as a bird or a bird shaped wyvern. For whatever reason, some hexapods relied more on their hindlimbs for fighting and hunting than their forelimbs, and perhaps their wings were more dexterous so that they used them much more for climbing. Maybe they adopt abandoned crevices to live in rather than excavate their own, and perhaps they're less intelligent and don't use their forelimbs for manipulating objects. With the hexapods being so large and commanding the spot of apex predator, a wyvern would go the smaller and lighter route, it would like to be more compact and agile so as to escape their larger cousins. And so it does away with those useless forelimbs and shortens its body.
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:iconumbbe:
umbbe Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2012  Student Digital Artist
I can't say much about the weight conservation there, but there is also the efficiency of structure - a lot of weight conservation can come from better bone structure. :V

Well, I believe the tail actually wasn't very useful for the primates after a while - it would have been too weak to support the weight of a larger ape. From my limited observation tailed monkeys are generally smaller than tailless ones.

(also there can be features that are not detrimental or advantageous - there is no environmental pressure to be rid of a feature, nor is there a lot of use for it. In these cases the useless feature may well not disappear at all.)

I still think that there is not enough time between the separation of wyverns and dragons to allow complete limb disappearance - they would need to look very different in other aspects as well to illustrate that they have separated a long time ago rather than recently. (think mammals and reptiles rather than horses and donkeys)
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:iconsognodrago:
sognodrago Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
O.O
this is really well done!
all the details, and the perfect anatomy
awesome!
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:iconcrovexius:
Crovexius Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
It's important to remember that weight conservation is ALWAYS an issue when it comes to flying - compare Archaeopteryx and the modern crow - they're both about the same size, but the crow will be the more efficient, (or even 'optomized'), of the two when it comes to flight simply because of the differences between them. Heck, even aircraft run to the rule of 'lighter and less pokey-out extras is better'. As for Quetzalcoatlus, its skull has ENOURMOUS fenestrae in it to lighten it, and its body wasn't very big at all - it's been estimated that even azhdarchids the size of a giraffe would only weigh up to about 250kg.

Anyways, while I don't doubt that front limbs have the possibility to be useful, I doubt that arms like that of a tyrannosaur or carnotaurus would be very good for catching prey, climbing, or even carrying things. And you have to admit that even things that are useful can get lost to evolution - our ancestors had tails after all.
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:iconumbbe:
umbbe Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Well, looking at quetzalcoatl, it had an enormous head and was ridiculously large. It could probably fly very effortlessly, so a smaller animal could support a pair of front limbs as well. It would actually be disadvantageous for a wyvern to lose those frontlimbs.
I doubt their weight would add that much trouble for the wyvern, since it could easily fly via gliding.
It actually takes a lot less to fly than to run if you dont flap very much. Seems to me that the wyverns pictured here are larger than an eagle, so they would probably be gliding for the most part.

The thing is, the frontlimbs most likely wouldnt go unused - they could be used to catch prey, and to carry items (like nesting material.) It might also make climbing easier, since they wouldnt have to fortify their wings for the stress of walking on them.
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:iconcrovexius:
Crovexius Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Having front limbs that aren't used soley for locomotion can be a great advantage - look at humans, our front limbs are very useful - and being able to fly without losing that could lead to an advantage over a similarly built flying quadraped, who has to give up its front (or rear) limbs as they become wings.

Wyverns not having the third pair of limbs can have advantages if they are a small animal, as you'd have to be able to support the extra weight from the fore-limbs in flight, which would mean you'd require either more wing surface, and/or stronger/denser flight-muscles, and more energy to drive it all - and it takes far more energy to fly a given distance than it does to walk, or even run. So not having those limbs would free up all the nutrients and energy that would be going to unused front limbs so that they have more to be able to fly.

But, who knows, maybe there is a "missing link" form around somewhere with tiny little arms. They wouldn't have just suddenly dropped off, after all. :D
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:iconumbbe:
umbbe Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Well, in my eyes, having the extra arms is not very detrimental at all for the wyvern. It would probably be light enough to allow flight (after all, the dragons can fly and they have six limbs), so it would be very slow to lose the limbs. Alternatively, if it is very detrimental, why are dragons thriving with six limbs?
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:icondystatic-studio:
Dystatic-Studio Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
I am interested in this person who requested you to draw wyvern anatomy, because this is actually my first impression of the dragon anatomy development. Can you answer me by note?
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