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EWilloughby's avatar

Balaur bondoc is a bird!

I am very pleased to be able to share my illustration of new research on Balaur bondoc by Andrea Cau​, Darren Naish​, and Tom Brougham. Best known as the "double sickle-clawed dromaeosaur", Balaur was in fact more likely to be a flightless bird placed more crownward than Archaeopteryx. The new paper, freely available at PeerJ, outlines ample rationale for this placement: perhaps most noteworthy, the enlarged hallux--previously thought to be a second sickle claw to enable a predatory Balaur to murder everything in sight--is more parsimonious as a highly mobile digit whose main function was to aid in climbing.

My life restoration of Balaur shows it as the pheasant-sized, omnivorous bird that it probably was in its Hateg island environment of Maastrichtian Romania (70 million years ago). The male, top, displays to a female who is much more interested in examining some berries.

The Hateg basin has provided great insight into its floral composition, which differed from most other known Cretaceous environments in a number of ways. Most of the plant life here is based on the Lindfors et al. 2009 paper, which described Eurya-like Ericales seeds in the Hateg basin, so I based the foreground plant in the upper left on Eurya japonica. There is also a lot of evidence for seeds and berry material in the Hateg, including a fruit described as having a distinctly pitted endocarp wall characteristic for some drupaceous fruits (e.g. in the Rosacae; comprising several fragments of rather large endocarp). This isn't too dissimilar from a modern raspberry or blackberry fruit, so the berry plant is based on something along those lines.

They also found abundant evidence of the Normapolles pollen grain, which they associate with the modern order Fagales that includes Betulaceae (birches), Rhoipteleaceae, Juglandaceae (walnuts) and related families. As such, I based most of the trees, including the central fallen log, on birches, beeches, and hornbeams.

Read the paper for free here:
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ramieverse's avatar

She's playing Hard-to-Get 😒

ramieverse's avatar

Anyways, get that girl man 😍

ByTheGalaxies's avatar
Those berries are more competition to him than other males
Olmagon's avatar

Real interesting that even your plants represent specific known fossil record plants, I just leave generic green stuff and call it a day.

YellowPanda2001's avatar
cullyferg2010's avatar
Beautifully drawn!  Looks like he's giving out his 'Back off!' territorial call. 
Trendorman's avatar
I just love the fact they just look like small winged hawks. 
KwnstandupesGallery's avatar
Amazing drawing!!! Have you thought of drawing more therapods ? I'd kill to see your rendition of a Yutyrannus
RowanSavesTheDay's avatar
Lol the male be like:

BTW awesome art!
Camacaw's avatar
So beautiful! :D Ok I'm done, I've rambled alot on your pic's. I guess you get it already.
NeovenatorRex's avatar
Awesome and accurate!
I love featherd Dinosaurus!
Louisetheanimator's avatar
This is a beauty! I love it! Great Work. ;)
Avian-king's avatar
can i use this art piece as my tumblr background
a1b2c3e4f7's avatar
wow fantástico !!
Wesdaaman's avatar
Actually, it is supposedly an Avialan, but it's definitely a Paravian
Terizinosaurus's avatar
it is fantastic wor !!!:) :) :)
YemaYema's avatar
Amazing, great job! I really like the color scheme (especially the feathers) and how you managed the background. Cheers
RAPHTOR's avatar
Your art is amazing :D It's still a dinosaur regardless of it being an avialan or a dromaeosaur :D 
grisador's avatar
Wow ! :O

Amazing Reconstruction as usual ! :D
nospacelikespace's avatar
a1b2c3e4f7's avatar
PCAwesomeness's avatar
Chirp chirp chirp...
Pyroraptor42's avatar
Was Balaur aviable to fly??
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