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Re: Troodon feeding habits



A message came in while I was manipulating previous messages and I pushed 
the wrong keys, losing what I was going to cite.

Alan Grant (I mean Greg Paul) commented about Troodon being up to 70 kg 
(150 lbs.)--I think those were the numbers--which is not small for a 
predator by modern standards.  This calls to mind some of my postings of 
about six months ago when I asked the question "How small is small?", 
with respect to dinosaurs.

My point in a posting on Friday(?)--"Re: Troodon"--was that Troodon is 
very gracile, not that it is small, so there's no disagreement here.  I 
also mentioned ostrich-like legs, and the sizes of Troodon and ostriches 
are in the same ball park.  Rephrasing my comment, I wonder how ostriches 
would fare, with their delicate (gracile) skeletons, if they were 
carnivores, and often had to struggle with wildebeest, wild boars, or 
other hefty prey that might not wish to become the predator's next meal?  
This question is inspired by my wondering if Troodon normally tackled 
prey larger than itself.  Having wicked-looking claws on its hands and 
feet doesn't necessarily indicate that it did.  I think it could have 
been easily injured by hefty thrashing or charging prey animals, and 
might have avoided such for just that reason.

Here's another point for consideration.  How large is a 70 kg Troodon, 
when we're comparing them to living predators?  The tail of a Troodon was 
much heavier than that of a cheetah, so maybe a 70 kg Troodon is actually 
more like a 40-50 kg cheetah (I'm bluffing here--I have no idea what 
cheetahs weigh), since the dinosaurian tail is just dead weight when it 
comes down to the business end of the animal.  Thus, Troodon was small 
for its size!  I wonder if anyone has tried to determine the weight of 
Troodon's tail (or the tail of any similar dinosaur) using the "immersion 
of plastic models" technique, to determine what portion of the over-all 
weight was contributed by tails?  Surely someone has tackled this burning 
question!

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Norman R. King                                       tel:  (812) 464-1794
Department of Geosciences                            fax:  (812) 464-1960
University of Southern Indiana
8600 University Blvd.
Evansville, IN 47712                      e-mail:  nking.ucs@smtp.usi.edu