Shop Forum More Submit  Join Login
Balaur Perched by EWilloughby Balaur Perched by EWilloughby
The second of my illustrations for the new study by Cau, Naish & Brougham which demonstrated an avialan affinity for the "double-sickle-clawed dromaeosaur" Balaur bondoc. This new phylogenetic placement restores Balaur as an omnivorous, climbing, flightless bird. Its second "sickle" claw is simply more of an enlarged and more mobile hallux, as Balaur's pedal claws lack the severe falciform shape typical of most other deinonychosaurs. Nevertheless, this is unusual foot morphology and was probably using these large-clawed, mobile, grappling feet for some amount of incipient climbing abilities. This illustration shows one way that it might have grasped a low-hanging branch with its feet in order to balance in a perched position.

This new paper is open-access and may be read here: peerj.com/articles/1032/ My previous illustration of this animal for Cau's study, depicting a pair of these animals in their native Hateg ecosystem of Maastrichtian Romania (70 million years ago), can be seen here: Balaur bondoc is a bird!

This is a gouache painting with digital details.
Add a Comment:
 
:iconbear48:
bear48 Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2018  Professional
nice job
Reply
:icon9weegee:
9Weegee Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
That is so... Balaur

Get it? Oh my puns are not funny
Reply
:iconrowansavestheday:
RowanSavesTheDay Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I spy with my raptor eye...

A balaur bondoc! :D

Amazing art! All your work is simply astounding :)
Reply
:iconcamacaw:
Camacaw Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2016
OMG I love it! :D I like it that someone else notices that dinosaurs where animals, and not monsters like how they are seen in the media.
Reply
:iconlongtai1505:
Longtai1505 Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2016
Teach me in the art of feather dromaeosaurs/eudromaeosaurs, on troodintids I guess
Reply
:iconcrowneddracu:
CrownedDracu Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2015  Student Traditional Artist
I would keep it as a pet lol
Reply
:icondiebruder:
diebruder Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
ave o dinosaurio?
Reply
:iconimpirrenryry:
ImpirrenRyRy Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2015
How do you decide on the colors to use?
Reply
:icontidalwave21:
tidalwave21 Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2015
Okay, so if an animal like this turns out to be a bird, what stops Creationists from saying that sinocalliopteryx or even microraptor is a bird? What makes something definitively a bird?
Reply
:iconimpirrenryry:
ImpirrenRyRy Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2015
I'm fairly sure these types of therapods are considered birds by most.
Reply
:iconagahnim:
Agahnim Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2015
Most creationists already consider Microraptor a bird, and they don't usually discuss Sinocalliopteryx.

For paleontologists, at this point there isn't any one anatomical trait that defines birds anymore. Whether or not a fossil is classified as a bird is based on whether cladistic analyses recover it as part of the avian (or avialan) lineage, or as part of a non-avian dinosaur lineage such as dromaeosauridae or troodontidae. Sometimes multiple analyses of a fossil will place it in different lineages, which results in disagreement over whether or not it's a bird. (Anchiornis is an example of that.)

As for creationists, they usually don't usually have a consistent set of criteria about it. As far as I know, the only creationist who's attempted to come up with consistent criteria is David Cavanaugh, in the first abstract listed here. His analysis recovered Archaeopteryx as a nonavian theropod, which is something that almost no other creationists agree with. But as far as systematic analyses from creationists are concerned, I'm pretty sure Cavanaugh's is the only one.
Reply
:icontidalwave21:
tidalwave21 Featured By Owner Edited Jul 9, 2015
Wow, the barrier between birds and other theropods is just being more and more blurred. Is confuciusornis a bird or a theropod? I forgot.
Reply
:iconagahnim:
Agahnim Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2015
I'm pretty sure Confuciusornis is still classified as a bird. Of course, if you define "theropod" in the cladistic rather than Linnaean sense, all birds are a type of theropod.
Reply
:iconpedrosalas:
PedroSalas Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
If it is a bird, why do you illustrate its wings in the resting fashion that you attribute to drommies? I mean, birds (current birds, at least) fold their arms by locating their wrists quite close to their shoulder girdle. Just as in the diagram from the paper peerj.com/articles/1032/
Reply
:iconewilloughby:
EWilloughby Featured By Owner Edited Jul 3, 2015  Professional General Artist
Excellent question. Jaime's skeletal reconstruction in the paper does indeed show the wrist quite close to the shoulder girdle, as in modern birds. However, a birdlike folding of the wing requires not only high degree of flexion at the elbow (which is the main site of flexion necessary for bringing wrist close to shoulder, as in the skeletal), but at the wrist and at the shoulder girdle as well. Here's an example of how a modern bird holds its wings at rest. Note the very sharp degree of flexion at shoulder, elbow and wrist alike. (That's a drawing of a parrot skeleton, not a penguin as the file name suggests.)

The question is whether basal birds were also capable of that kind of extreme flexion at all 3 of those joints. Elbow is good to goI'm not aware of any biomechanical studies on theropods at any size that call that into question. As well, many paravians are capable of rotating the humerus to the horizontal position with respect to the vertebral columnbut probably not much beyond that.

The real question here is that of the wrist flexion. This is addressed in Sullivan et al. 2010 (winningly translated to layman coherency by Matt Martyniuk), which found that many maniraptorans have a surprisingly low extent of max flexion in the wrist. I don't recall Cau et al. addressing the issue of Balaur's wrist flexion in the recent paper, but based on its phylogenetic placement, we can anticipate a wrist flexion somewhere in-between Deinonychus and the confuciusornithids in Matt's diagram in the link above, based on the Sullivan study. Note that while Deinonychus wasn't even capable of folding its wrist to the 90°, Eoconfuciousornis was capable of considerably betterbut still nowhere near what modern birds can do. Given a tentative midpoint in Balaur, it still wouldn't have been able to fold its wings like a modern bird, hence my decision to adopt the familiar side-hanging wing, with the extended elbow, that I've preferred for deinonychosaurs for some time.

Jaime's skeletal is fine, of course, and the position of the arms is perfect for showing the animal's anatomy without obscuring any parts of it. But I don't think that a paravian would have held its arms like this very often in life, for reasons I've mentioned before. That position would be awkward in movement and would leave the hand and arm feathers more open to damage and breakage due to hanging free, rather than contributing to a smooth, streamlined surface of the animal. 

This is all, of course, open to debate and certainly speculative. The Sullivan paper found some odd inconsistencies in wrist-folding with respect to the maniraptoran lineage, such as oviraptorids having a totally birdlike wrist flexion despite being further removed from Avialae, so it's not impossible that Balaur could have had a birdlike wrist flexion too. But its phylogenetic placement does not currently support the idea that it evolved from animals that did.

Reply
:iconpedrosalas:
PedroSalas Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
It seems to me that the capability for a complete wrist flexion and the length of primary feathers are in a one-to-one relationship. More so after having watched the proposal by Dave Hone for Microraptor to prevent damage on their flight feathers, which in my opinion looks a bit awkward.
archosaurmusings.files.wordpre…
Reply
:iconewilloughby:
EWilloughby Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2015  Professional General Artist
I don't believe that the evidence we have so far supports a one-to-one relationship between degree of wrist flexion and length of primary feathers, though that would be a very interesting analysis to perform if someone would bother doing it. Your hypothesis is also consistent with oviraptorids having bizarrely flexible wrists, despite being relatively un-birdlike compared to more crownward paraviansthey have the longest known primaries outside of Deinonychosauria, iirc. But the Sullivan paper I linked is the only theropod wrist flexion analysis I'm aware of, and they only study a handful of specimens. Are you aware of any other papers that discuss arm-folding with respect to radiale angle between proximal and distal articular surfaces of radiale? Especially for specimens that have known feather imprints...
Reply
:iconpedrosalas:
PedroSalas Featured By Owner Edited Jul 4, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
Unfortunately I'm not aware of any paper about the topic. Indeed I was hoping you could point out anyone for me, because I need that information for my life size sculptures.
My hypothesis is derived from, say, intuition and observation, rather than from the reading of any specific paper on the matter.
Reply
:icongrisador:
grisador Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2015
So... İts not The raptor as imagined
But another Big proto-Avian dinosaur ?
Reply
:iconacepredator:
acepredator Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2015
Actually a basal flightless bird.
Reply
:icongrisador:
grisador Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2015
Great Discovery !   Nod 

I wonder is this species are climbers (Arboreal) too ? They certainly have to do something for survive; ground has too much & too big Predators.


By the way the Raptor group\clade starting to get smaller and smaller. That's slightly worrying me :\
Reply
:iconacepredator:
acepredator Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2015
Climbers.
Reply
:icongrisador:
grisador Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2015
After young Deino's might be able to Glide; ı'm open to any new theory
Reply
:iconcjcroen:
CJCroen Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
It's so cute!
Reply
:iconetomo:
Etomo Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Wow, this is pretty neat. Those toes are super weird but oddly...endearing. I think it's because I saw you mention they were like swifts' feet and now I can't get that image out of my head, haha. Lovely colors on this one!
Reply
:iconherofan135:
herofan135 Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Looks amazing, love the details here!
Reply
:iconarcovenator:
Arcovenator Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2015
It's so beautiful!
Reply
:iconx-streamchaos:
X-StreamChaos Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I love it!
Reply
:iconacepredator:
acepredator Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2015
OK, I get it's a bird, but why is it an omnivore? 
Reply
:iconprocrastinatingstill:
The paper explains.

1. On the family tree, it is close to known omnivorous or herbivorous birds (Jeholornis,etc.)
2. The arms and legs lack predatory adaptations found in Dromaeosaurs.
3. The sickle claws are different from Dromaeosaurs.
4. Something about the gut.
Reply
:iconacepredator:
acepredator Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2015
Fair enough. Because dromaeosaurs used their claws to get a good grip on prey (think eagle) I thought the double-clawed design would help with that.
Reply
:iconewilloughby:
EWilloughby Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2015  Professional General Artist
Part of what the Cau et al 2015 paper will hopefully help to dispel over time is the notion that predatory function is implicit in the "double claw" design at all. Swift feet are roughly analogous to Balaur here: all four toes point forward at rest, but the inner two are mobile enough to be in loose opposition to the outer two (enabling the swift to carry nesting materials when it needs to). The new paper points out that Balaur's pedal claws lack the sickle-shaped curvature ("falciform") that typifies the predatory foot of both dromaeosaurs and extant birds of prey. 
Reply
:iconacepredator:
acepredator Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2015
I already saw the reasons (you weren't the first to comment), you don't need to make me look stupid by saying this further.
Reply
:iconewilloughby:
EWilloughby Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2015  Professional General Artist
I was elaborating on one of the reasons. 
Reply
:iconacepredator:
acepredator Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2015
ok.
Reply
:iconforvenn20:
ForvenN20 Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2015
While I am saddened it's not the double-dagger-claw-of-death-raptor anymore, it's still a beautiful and interesting species. Your art always exudes so much realism and character :heart:
Reply
:iconsomekindaspy:
SomeKindaSpy Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2015
I'm not. It makes sense they'd be animals.
Reply
:iconforvenn20:
ForvenN20 Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2015
I'm aware they're animals, what else would they be?
Reply
:iconsomekindaspy:
SomeKindaSpy Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2015
I mean I actually think of them as animals now instead of fake-ass movie monsters.
Reply
:iconforvenn20:
ForvenN20 Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2015
I've always thought of them as real animals, I was merely stating that as someone who has a penchant for predators I would have loved it to have turned out to be a twin-clawed killer.
Reply
:iconsomekindaspy:
SomeKindaSpy Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2015
Eh, I'm good with the way it is. There is already enough of those.
Reply
:iconforvenn20:
ForvenN20 Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2015
Fair enough.
Reply
:iconspikeheila:
Spikeheila Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Balaur's so weird but I love it so much. All of this new info just makes me love it even more.
Reply
:iconhyrotrioskjan:
Hyrotrioskjan Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2015  Professional General Artist
Oh, and that's a very interesting way to reconstruct its feet, that was always my biggest struggle 
when working on this species.
Reply
:iconhyrotrioskjan:
Hyrotrioskjan Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2015  Professional General Artist
Ahhh, beautiful painting Emily, I enjoy it like a good wine in the evening (when I would drink wine...) :thumbsnail:
Reply
:iconmightyraptor:
MightyRaptor Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Now this is a very beautiful Dino-bird.
Reply
:icongardi89:
Gardi89 Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Beautiful work! Huh, I somehow missed that paper. Off to read it now!
Reply
:iconalexanderlovegrove:
Alexanderlovegrove Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2015
Just gorgeous!
Reply
:iconmistingwolf:
MistingWolf Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Lots of sciency talk that I don't get (I at least know that the hallux is the rear-facing digit on a bird foot... right?). Still interesting and cool, though. :}
Reply
:iconanonymousllama428:
AnonymousLlama428 Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Beautiful!
Reply
Add a Comment:
 
×




Details

Submitted on
June 20, 2015
Image Size
740 KB
Resolution
2400×1278
Link
Thumb

Stats

Views
10,176 (1 today)
Favourites
528 (who?)
Comments
51
Downloads
137
×