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Re: Killing Claws
In response to Sam Girouard
> >Not if the sickle-clawed theropod struck at the soft underbelly. A
> >nice, swift evisceration, and down goes the prey.
> >[ Are we being a bit too mammalocentric here? Would an animal with a
> > rib cage extending all the way to its pelvis have a "soft underbelly"?
> > -- MR ]
> Mickey took the words right out of my mouth. To quote innumerable
> others, dinosaurs aren't mammals.
Yeah, yeah, you're both probably right. Still, the claws need not
necessarily have struck bone every time a dromaeosaurid slashed out
its prey. IMHO the claws weren't there to cripple any unfortunate
herbivore that crossed the dromaeosaurid's path - they were put to
lively (or deadly) use slashing through the victim's hide.
> Tim Williams responded:
> >I believe one of the major reasons sickle clawed theropods are thought to
> >have carried their claws above the ground is because they have peculiar
> >articulations on the toe bones that seem to let the toe sit hyperextended.
> >Also, the claw toes have been shortened. One quite telling feature is that
> >the other two walking toes have become nearly equal in length, presumably
> >stability, and the foot bones have been reinforced. As far as I know,
> >cassowaries and rheas have none of these additional modifications.
Actually, this wasn't me. It's far too intelligent and well-
researched for anything I could have said. And I deny
responsibility for the other stuff Sam quoted as well - two-toed
tracks on Palaeoworld, self-sharpening claws of moggies - for similar
reasons. (Although I had no idea that emus were so mean. I can
assure you Sam, from now on I'm going to keep well away from my
compatriot _Dromaius novaehollandiae_ ;-).)
[ He's right (imagine that :-) My records show that Peter Buchholz was
the author of the above quoted text and the section about Paleoworld
as well. -- MR ]