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In message <199511281913.LAA18524@netcom19.netcom.com>  writes:
> > what do modern analogs - say an ostrich - do?
>   I have heard it said that when modern large flightless birds
> cannot run away from a threat, they kick with great effectiveness.
> I think I remember hearing that humans have been occasionally
> disemboweled, and occasionally have had their heads separated
> from their necks, by such kicks.  But I don't remember my sources
> well enough to cite them.
>                                            --  Jay Freeman

Well, I cannot cite a published source, but as a teen-age boy, I cleaned up ___ 
at a local Zoo (Rock Island County, Illinois) on weekends ... kid job.  Anyway,
I quickly learned that an Ostrich does exactly what you said.  They will kick 
but they are more likely to raise one leg and rake downward with their claws. I 
was attacked and "kicked" in this manner; the heavy canvas coverall and the blue
jeans underneath were both torn from knee to ankle with minor lacerations to my 
leg.  The "kick" knocked me down and I suspect that the next move was to take my
head off but the regular caretaker I was assisting distracted the bird long 
enough for me to leave the enclosure. In fairness to ostriches, as many times as
I was in that enclosure, that was the only time that ever happened.  I have, 
however, noticed a behavior that precedes agressive behavior and it applies to 
ostriches (5 that I had experience with) and fighting cocks.  When an up and 
down "bobbing" of the head started, a fight was gonna start.  It almost appears 
as if an ostrich is measuring up size or intent with another ostrich but they 
also do it when annoyed by tourists.  Fighting cocks do the same thing (I saw a 
lot of cockfights when I was stationed in the Phillipines in the late 60's).  
This makes me wonder if similar displays would have been used by Theropods.  It 
appears that fights only occur when a "winner" and a "loser" cannot be 
determined through "bobbing".  I hope so.  It would make for an interesting 
animation.  If Disney did it, it would probably be set to some insipid music no 

Anyway a true-life experience.


Rich Hengst                       |   
Biol. Sci. @ PUNC                 |
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