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Re: Balaur bondac, the double-bladed dromaeosaurid of Transylvania!

T. Michael Keesey <keesey@gmail.com> wrote:

> Andrea Cau posted on the idea here:
> http://theropoda.blogspot.com/2010/09/balaur-more-than-just-double-
> sickle.html

Andrea proposed that _Balaur_ might be an "island-dwelling 
therizinosaur-mimic".  Or to put it more succinctly, a "Dodo-raptor".  

Under this hypothesis, the functionally tetradactyl foot is indicative of a 
more graviportal posture.  The increased distance between opposing pubic shafts 
(producing a more barrel-shaped hindquarters) is suggestive of herbivory - 
specifically the need to accommodate a larger gut for processing plant 
material.  This would tie in with the graviportal posture, and the need to 
recruit the hallux as a weight-bearing digit.  The atrophied manus and 
co-ossified carpometacarpus imply decreased predatory ability.  With the 
exception of the last one, these are all therizinosaur-like features.

But as noted by Andrea, we need to know more about _Balaur_ to back up this 
"Dodo-raptor" idea - especially some good cranial material.