STL Science Center

STL Science Center

23 July 2011

Fresh off the presses

 The partial skeleton of B. bondoc included the bones shown here in this skeletal reconstruction with images of the actual bones. Obviously this doesn't leave us much to go on and therefore there is a lot of guesswork in building this dinosaur for illustrators and paleontologists alike. In the very near future, about an inch below this, that will come into great play in discussing the illustrations. The key points of the skeleton which separate this genus from velociraptors, deinonychus, and other dromaeosaurs can be seen in the bones that have been found, however. There are two points: 1) the bones found in this specimen are more robust and heavy as if we are comparing bulldogs and greyhounds when we compare this animal to other dromaeosaurs that are not built as stocky and robust and 2) the foot clearly carries two claws poised for (depending on your view) gripping or slashing at victims.

In this illustration (copyright included in the image) the body is built up robustly and the two claws are included on the feet. Also included is the birdlike appearance now attributed to every dromaeosaur regardless of evidence of feathering, which is quite alright with me as an assumption included in illustrations recently. The one piece of guesswork is the head of the animal. Lacking a skull we have no idea how the head would have looked; for all we know there was a horn on the nose or pronounced eyebrow ridges. However, the head is done along the lines of the older, non-avian, reptilian look of dromaeosaur heads. It fits the animal, clearly, and the older style has its points of beauty and intrigue on its own.

©Mihai Dragos
Here we have two B. bondoc hunting a Telmatosaurus. From the illustrator's description:
Personally I see this animal as a solitary hunter although a pair of them would have been more successful. The heavy anatomy of this Dromaeosaurid indicates that it was by no means a swift and agile predator but more likely an ambush hunter.
The guesswork part of the skeleton has been filled in with the more modern avian head rather than the reptilian head of older models of dromaeosaur. It lacks heavy feathering on the head and thus still retains a reptilian look to it, especially around where the lips would be, if dinosaurs were ever shown with lips of course.

The final B. bondoc is completely avian from head to tail including the feathering along the length of the body. This is the only illustration which shows the habitat that we know existed as well with an extensive shoreline of the island being shown. The feathering here is rather downy, which is fine, and does not stop at all on the face of the animal even covering up the area of the mouth seen in the previous entry as reptilian.

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