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In a message dated 95-11-27 14:14:45 EST, sean.kerns@sdrc.com (sean kerns)

>My dog (oops! canid...) actually _does_ use them, and with
>quite a bit of dexterity, when he's trying to get a good
>grip on something he's chewing, like a rawhide bone; they
>seem to serve as an "anchoring" point, of some kind.
>I have also observed him extending it for a wider "swath"
>when he's taking a swipe at something - usually me, when we're
>These uses may not be universal, but I know of at least one
>dog who uses his "dew claws" for something.

Now that you mention it, our canid does the same thing on occasion. I didn't
really give it much thought before. I guess having an "extra claw" on the
forefeet isn't _quite_ as much of a liability as I had reckoned. Roosters use
their dew claws for fighting (and it gets deadly when razors are attached to
the claws in illegal cockfighting), so I would imagine dew claws retained at
least this use among theropods.