Thursday, September 2, 2010

Not Dracula, but a dragon

Look what was found in Transylvania: Balaur bondoc, a deadly dinosaur named after a dragon-like creature in Romanian folklore. Balaur (2nd image) lived 72 million years ago and its fossilized remains - leg, pelvic girdle, vertebrae, forelimb, rib, and tail bones - were found by Mátyás Vremir, a geologist at the Transylvanian Museum Society. The 6-7' therapod is related to the velociraptor (3rd image), but has twice as many claws.

Balaur's stockiness and large muscle attachments on its hips suggest it was strong rather than quick. It had 2 large retractable sickle claws on each foot (1st image). Forelimbs that were atrophied and had fused bones indicate that it used its hind legs to grasp and disembowel its prey. According to a researcher at Columbia University, "Balaur is a new breed of predatory dinosaur, very different from anything we have ever known....Compared to Velociraptor, Balaur was probably more of a kickboxer than a sprinter, and it might have been able to take down larger animals than itself, as many carnivores do today." In fact, it was probably one of the apex predators of its Cretaceous island ecosystem, since no dinosaurs have been discovered in Romania with larger teeth.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, what a wonderful find! I just love hearing about new dinosaurs still being discovered. ^-^


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