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Report from Dino Fest, Part 2




             | Dino Fest was a gathering of paleontologists,
             | paleoecologists, molecular biologists, teachers,
Standardized | students and enthusiasts all interested in
Introduction | dinosaurs. We met at Indiana University / Purdue
             | University Indianapolis (IUPUI) in Indianapolis,
             | Indiana from March 24 through 26, 1994. (A good
             | time was had by all.)
             |
             | This report represents the ideas and opinions of
             | the presenter(s), not this reporter.


Thursday, March 24, 1994
8:35 a.m.

"_Deinonychus_: The Ultimate Killing Machine"
By John Ostrom (Professor Emeritus, Yale University)

Many of us were taught that _Tyrannosaurus_rex_ was the most
fearsome of all dinosaurs. This is not accurate.

_Deinonychus_ had an upright posture and was a fast-running,
obligatory biped with sharp, predacious teeth. It had long,
predacious claws on three flexible fingers. The wrist bones were
flexible and could rotate the hand while it was grasping its
prey -- it had the proper articular surface (a sharp asymetrical
curve in the wrist). The toe with the killing claw was highly
flexible, able to retreat from the ground when walking to prevent
damage, and to extend to slash its prey. The tail was held rigid
with ossified tendons for the purpose of balance and to permit a
power moment of inertia during attack. The quarry where
_Deinonychus_ were found provides good evidence that several of
these dinosaurs hunted in packs. (The _Velociraptors_ portrayed
in the film _Jurassic_Park_ were really _Deinonychus_... ;) )


--
*=- -=*=- -=*=- -=*=- -=*=- -=*=- -=*=- -=*=- -=*=- -=*=- -=*=- -=*=- -=*
 Douglas E. Goudie                  To know all things is not permitted.
 ac941@leo.nmc.edu                               -- Horace (65 - 8 B.C.)