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Re: Mononykus mating

David Peters writes:

>On another note R.O. asks: "...modern birds the size of Mononykus seem to be
>able to mate quite effectively without grappling (though there may be some
>biting), so why should Mononykus have had to do otherwise?"
>Good question.  But birds have a tiny pygostyle that flips up allowing ready
>access to the cloaca, and beating wings which can help these clawless avians
>maintain position.  In contrast, _Mononykus_ is like an alligator on stilts.

The pygostyle issue had occurred to me, but is it known that Mononykus could
not have elevated its tail easily?  Or for that matter, whether theropods in
general lacked this flexibility?

Again, I suspect we can never know, but those stubby forearms seem pretty
unlikely grapplers.  Archaeopteryx' wing structure seems much more
appropriate; given that hoatzins have redeveloped clawed wings I assume any
bird derivative (if Mononykus is indeed one) could have produced grappling
claws that would have given much better purchase.  And if Mononykus is a
theropod outside the bird lineage, why give up grasping hands?

I mean, without getting crude here, if male readers of this list were given
the opportunity of trading in your arms for elbow-length clubs, and told
that this would enable you to hold onto females better during mating, would
you believe this and accept?
Ronald I. Orenstein                           Phone: (905) 820-7886 (home)
International Wildlife Coalition              Fax/Modem: (905) 569-0116 (home)
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