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RATITE HALLUX



> A number of birds, as I said in another message, have lost the hallux
> entirely on becoming cursorial; of course the ostrich has retained only two
> digits.  You are correct about ratites though I believe at least some of the
> extinct moas may have retained the hallux.  (Ronald Orenstein, quoting G.O.)

Without even mentioning the issue of ratite polyphyly, all the kiwis have a
functional hallux.. OK, they're not particularly cursorial (and they're not
related to moas either, BTW!). I'll chase up the condition in moas and other
extinct ratites later today.

Re hallux in theropod footprints..

A trackway identified by Lockley as made by _Tyrannosaurus_ was reported coupl' 
a years back. This shows a large hallux, level with digits 2-4, and almost
perpendicular to the axis of digit 3.. if I remember correctly. Perhaps the
animal was walking over slippy mud (hence the preservability of its prints in
this instance).. and on the same note, it is relevant that felids (despite
popular conceptions) walk around with unsheathed claws when on muddy/icy
terrain. You might also like to know that cheetahs DO have retractile claws..
they're just not as retractile in other cats.

"Bought the tickets from some **ck** up bloke in Camden Town"

DARREN NAISH