22 July 2011
How Does One Say "Run From the Turkey Sized Dinosaurs!" In Romanian?
Mean, little, built like a bulldozer (compared to his cousins), and stranded on an island our new friend, Balaur Bondoc (stocky dragon: three syllables, stressed on the second /a/ and the species pronounced like "boned oak"), was described and publicized in August 2010. "Why not wait a few weeks and make it a one year anniversary?" you ask, well because the first bones of B. Bondoc were discovered in 1997 actually as small bits and pieces and fragments of the arms. Six small elements of frontal limbs that were confused with Oviraptor arms, to be exact. In September of 2009 the first partial skeleton was unearthed along the Sebes River in Romania. On August 31, 2010 the first descriptions of the species were published in scientific magazines.
The "island" on which it was found is called Hateg Island and was part of the European archipelago that was dotted about the Tethys Sea during the Cretaceous Period. Due to its being on an island the B. Bondoc is thought to be a case of dwarfism (see Sicilian Elephants) within the dromaeosaur family and related closely to Asian velociraptors. In addition to its dromaeosaur attributes it also possessed limbs that were proportionally shorter and heavier than those of its other relatives and an additional killing claw, meaning it had two large, retractable, sickle-shaped claws on each foot instead of the typically found single claw of other dromaeosaurs. This is going to be an interesting week to study this dinosaur friends!