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RE: Killing Claws

Sam Girouard wrote:

>         Thomas Holtz commented on the "fighting specimen", GI 100/25:
>> Having seen slides of the fully prepared specimen, this shows some
>> really interesting aspects of interspecific combat.  In particular,
>> one of the hindfeet (the left, if I remember correctly) is placed
>> with the sickle-claw in the neck of the Protoceratops, not the belly
>> as previously thought!
>        I think is likely that this posistion was arrived at after the
> death of one or both animals. Why? If I was a Velociraptor, that would
> be the last place I would put my foot (or any other portion of my
> anatomy, for that matter!). The powerful beak of Protoceratops would
> have been its main defence, and I don't think a living Velociraptor
> would put its foot so very close to it.

Actually, the neck is the most likely place for the Velociraptor to strike. 
 Most large prey hunters will strike at the neck, despite its proximity to 
the mouth or beak in this case, because the neck will make a kill very 
quickly.  I realize this may be mammalocentric, but watch most dogs and 
cats hunt and you will find bites to the neck very common.  I have also 
seen birds defend their nests against much larger predators by striking at 
the head.  Besides, if the velociraptor is attacking by coming up along the 
side from the rear, the beak is in a poor postion for defense.  Again, 
watch most any large predator take down a large prey item.

Joe Daniel