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Philosoraptor is an advice animal image macro series featuring an illustration of a Velociraptor paired with captions depicting the dinosaur as being deeply immersed in metaphysical inquiries or unraveling quirky paradoxes.
On October 8th, 2008, the original illustration of the Philosoraptor was released and copyrighted by creator Sam Smith as a T-shirt design for sale on the online retailer Lonely Dinosaur (shown below).
In an e-mail exchange with Know Your Meme, Smith revealed that the idea for "Philosoraptor" image was conceived sometime in the early of summer of 2008. The final image wasn't created until late summer and the t-shirts went into production in August and September that year.
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.
On March 30th, 2007, the earliest known depiction of a Philosoraptor dinosaur was posted on YTMND page titled "New species of dinosaur discovered!", featuring a photoshopped image of a Velociraptor from the 1993 action film Jurassic Park holding a copy of Plato's complete works (shown below, left). On February 18th, 2009, the earliest archived appearance of an image macro featuring the Lonely Dinosaur illustration was posted on 4chan /b/ board.
Although "Philosoraptor" (combination of Philosopher and velociraptor) appears on the original t-shirt design, the portmanteau word has been used elsewhere prior to the release of Lonely Dinosaur merchandises. Due to the similar sounds of the two words, it is quite likely that various people arrived at the concept of a Philosoraptor independent of one another.
One of the earliest mentions of "philosoraptor" on the web can be found in a quote by a ten-year-old Hope from Kentucky, originally posted via children's site EnchantedLearning on December 28th, 1998:
I like the philosoraptor because it spits an acidy type of substance in its victims eyes. I saw this dinosaur in the movie Jurassic Park and I did a report on it also. This dinosaur is da bomb.
"Philosoraptor" has been also used as online identities on various occasions, most notably the politics-religion blog Philosoraptor, which has been active since March 2003, and a notorious debater named "Philosoraptor" on Democratic Underground forums.
In November 2009, Philosoraptor was added to the Advice Dog "variations" section on Encyclopedia Dramatica. On November 26th, an entry for Philosoraptor was created on Urban Dictionary (shown below).
In December that year, Sam Smith sent an e-mail to inform the Lonely Dinosaur staff that was fine with the image being used as a meme:
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.
On October 25th, 2010, the Internet humor blog Smosh published a listicle featuring 20 notable Philosoraptor examples. On November 23rd, the Internet news blog Mary Sue posted an image gallery highlighting 50 Philosoraptor examples.
By July 2011, Philosoraptor reached the "God Tier" on Memegenerator with over 38,000 instances and 12 different templates. On December 29th, YouTuber Chris Schultz published an original pop song featuring lyrics inspired by Philosoraptor images (shown below, left). On August 28th, 2012, the animeme YouTube channel uploaded several animated versions of Philosoraptor image macros (shown below, right).
In October 2013, a thread inviting users to post the best Philosoraptor jokes was submitted to the discussion site Quora. On March 30th, 2016, the news site Observer published an article describing the history of Philosoraptor and several other classic internet memes.
The largest peak in Philosoraptor queries began in December of 2008, two months following Smith's copyright registration.
 LonelyDinosaur (via Wayback Machine) – Philosoraptor Shirt
 Urban Dictionary – Philosoraptor
 YTMND – New species of dinosaur discovered!
 EnchantedLearning – Dinosaur Favorites
 chanarchive (via Wayback Machine) – Philosoraptor
 MemeGenerator (via Wayback Machine) – Philosoraptor
 Democratic Underground Forum – Search Results for Philosoraptor
 Blogspot – Philosoraptor
 Encyclopedia Dramatica – Philosoraptor (page unavailable)
 Smosh (via Wayback Machine) – The 20 Wisest Philosoraptor Quotes
 The Mary Sue – Philosoraptors 50 Wisest Musings
 Quora- What are the best philosoraptor jokes
 Observer – The Origin Stories Behind 5 of the Internets Most Popular Memes
Apr 28, 2016 at 10:27AM EDT
Apr 28, 2016 at 07:33PM EDT
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