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pouncing scenario



Wayne Bottick's posting questioned what a (still) flightless pouncing
theropod would do with its prey once it caught it.  My answer would be
that the creature would do the same thing that strictly cursorial predators
would do once they captured their prey: consume it on the spot, or carry
it away to a less conspicuous spot and eat it there.  Only the method of
attack would be different.  Judging from the hindlimb claws of many
theropods, both the forelimbs and hindlimbs were involved in prey
capture, and I don't think a pouncing theropod would handle its prey
much differently.   With respect to carrying the prey away to a spot
where it could be consumed undisturbed, in my scenario this might
involve jumping with a small (mouse-size) prey back up into the
branches.  Over time, this return to a relatively safe spot could be
assisted and hastened by the development of lift and flapping flight.  Of
course, this means that the mass of the prey would have to be relatively
small compared to that of the predator, and that the extensors of the leg
and hip used in leaping would have to be quite well developed to gain
height before the flight apparatus was developed enough to provide
vertical lift.

James

James M. Norton, Ph.D.
University of New England
11 Hill's Beach Road
Biddeford, ME  04005
phone: [207]283-0171 x2270
fax: [207]283-3249
email: jnorton@mailbox.une.edu