Jun. 24th, 2014

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Balaur bondoc was an apex predator on Hateg Island, the late Cretaceous portion of Romania from which we know so much about the effects of island life on dinosaur evolution. Balaur was roughly the size of a turkey, with unusual proportions for a dromaeosaur - short, robust arms and legs, only two fingers on its hand, and with not just one but two sickle claws on each foot due to a highly modified inner toe. It wasn't a graceful sprinter like its relatives, but it was powerful and likely capable of taking down prey larger than itself. This one has caught a juvenile Zalmoxes robustus, an iguanodontid, still young enough to have a coat of down. Like Magyarosaurus and other Hateg dinosaurs, Zalmoxes grew much smaller than its relatives, an example of island dwarfism. As an adult, it would not have exceeded 7-10 feet in length, considerably smaller than the nearby Iguanodon species of continental Europe which reached 30-40 feet long as adults.

And with this I am officially back from my hiatus! It was longer than I'd anticipated it being, but that's thesis work for you sometimes.

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Lauren Helton

September 2014

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