Philosoraptor is an advice animal image macro series featuring a clip art of a Velociraptor deeply immersed in thought. He is usually shown with one to two lines of text about metaphysical inquiries or unraveling quirky paradoxes. Philosoraptor challenges the reader with his deep paleolithic questions.
The original Philosoraptor was originally a T-shirt design on LonelyDinosaur, created by Sam Smith. Smith registered the copyright for the design on October 8th, 2008.
Through an email exchange, Smith explained the creation of “Philosoraptor”. It was conceived in the early summer of 2008. The final image wasn’t created until late summer and the t-shirts started production during August and September of 2008.
The image itself was a mix of several images of velociraptors I got online, which I compressed to one-color images, then mixed together. I took the jaw off of one at the mouth, and cut it open to make the mouth look like it was hanging open. The claw was based off an image of an eagle talon that I flattened, drew in some bits, and moved and enlarged one of them to make the raptor-like claw. The last thing I did was nudge the eye slit over to the right like three times, and that pulled it all together- really gives him that far-away look.
It was inspired by our friend Devin, who was a philosophy major and was always hunched over his desk thinking, so we called him the philosoraptor. We had never heard of it before at the time, but apparently the joke had been made previously on the interwebs.”
Through the launch of Memegenerator in March of 2009, Philosoraptor was easily able to to rise to popularity. Memegenerator allowed users to add text to different variations of Advice Animals. Philosoraptor remains one of the most popular macro series.
The Copyright, the Artist, and the Interwebz
In an email sent by Sam Smith, in December of 2009, Smith states that he is fine with the photoshopping and remains curious to know how the meme all began.
We’re not exactly sure who started putting text over it, and far be it from us to try and control a meme… We put a creative commons non-commercial license on it, so all your stuff is cool and we think what you’re doing is great, but now everyone thinks that the shirt we’re selling is just something we cut and pasted off the web, which kind of sucks for us. It’d be cool to see if we could put our side of the story out there and see if we can find the person who first put text over it, and have a complete history of origin of the meme.”
- Urban Dictionary definition for “Philosoraptor” first appeared in June 2008, the 4chan-specific definition was submitted over a year later on November 26th, 2009:
A philosophical cousin of the velociraptor, that originated on 4chan, and was adapted from the advice dog meme. It’s commonly used as an image macro with a picture of the philosoraptor’s head, one talon poised under its chin, as it ponders the deeper questions of the universe. It is generally accompanied by a riddle, pronoun or philosophical issue, or a parody of one of these, that the philosoraptor is currently mulling over. The text is usually divided, with half the text appearing at the top of the picture, and the other half at the bottom.”