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Balaur bondoc by EWilloughby Balaur bondoc by EWilloughby
Awesome new dromaeosaur was discovered recently from late Cretaceous Romania and described in this month's online preprinting of PNAS. Here's an article: [link]

The weirdest thing about Balaur bondoc is that it had double sickle claws on each foot, with the additional claw being the hallux that evolution had modified into a retractable enlarged claw. It also had a reduced and nonfunctional third manual digit, unlike all other known dromaeosaurs.

Awesome critter!

Here's the Wikipedia article for anyone interested: [link]

[Edit] It now appears to be common belief that the first digit was not as hyperextensible as my original drawing so I edited it to reflect that.
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:iconbalaur99dennonychus:
Balaur99Dennonychus Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2012
This is my absolute favorite dinosaur!! Personally, being an expert on Dinosaurs and Pterosaurs, I think the fact that the number of claws, front and rear, is due to polydactyly of the type, which was not characteristic of the species B. Bondoc.
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:iconewilloughby:
EWilloughby Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2012  Professional General Artist
The thing is, though, Balaur did not exhibit polydactyly: its "second sickle claw" is just a modified hallux! So it has the same number of toes as every other dromaeosaur. If the second sickle claw was in fact in addition to rather than instead of the hallux, I'd agree that would be a likely instance of polydactyly.
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:iconarchaeosaurisdae:
Archaeosaurisdae Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
absolutely beautiful, he's one of my favorite dromaeosauridae, the amazing uniqueness of this creature fascinates me so. This is probably the best restoration I've seen yet. Especially because it was promoted to Wikipedia. :wow:
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:iconmobius89:
Mobius89 Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2010
Now I understand why that Romanian super-weapon in Ace Combat: Joint Assault is called Balaur...
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:iconponchofirewalker01:
PonchoFirewalker01 Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2010
Wait, there's only one individual found, right? What if it's like a mutation glitch or a condition that is like the six-fingered humans. Remember that two headed fossil? Just throwing out possibilities.
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:iconewilloughby:
EWilloughby Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2010  Professional General Artist
I responded to this already in another comment but here's the copy/paste:

If you read the paper by the original authors, they make it clear that their analysis of the fossil makes it very unlikely that it was a single mutation.

From the paper:

The extra functional digit is associated with numerous modifications of the pelvis and hin- dlimb, including extensive fusion, a braced articulation between the femur and pelvis, enlarged femoral extensor musculature, and a reinforced and shortened distal hindlimb. Together, these features indicate an animal with hindlimbs optimized for strength and power, with a tetradactyl and hypextensive foot capable of forceful strikes (26).

It's pretty unlikely that a derived trait would have that many functionally related autapomorphies and still be a single mutation. The analysis indicates that these additional sickle claws evolved along with all of its other adaptations for vastly increased hindleg power.
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:iconponchofirewalker01:
PonchoFirewalker01 Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2010
Hmm, I see. Quite a deal :D
But I suppose we can entirely certain when when find more specimens, right?
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:icondjigr:
Djigr Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
heehee, when I saw this new specie, I found it so interesting!
so I went on Wikipedia in french (coz i'm French BTW) and... there was THREE lines about Balaur. I was so angry that I had to traduct the whole page from english.
Now, there is a real page for Balaur in french ^^
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:iconglendonmellow:
GlendonMellow Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2010  Professional Traditional Artist
Terrific colouration on the headcrest. Just bright enough to hint at sexual display. .
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:iconewilloughby:
EWilloughby Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2010  Professional General Artist
Thanks!
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