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Re: Deinonychus claws

Joe Daniel wrote:
> The problem with this is that the claw is clearly a specialization
> having nothing to do with climbing.  

'Clearly?'  It's not clear to me, otherwise I wouldn't be posting
speculations like this.  The claw is a specialization, yes.  But a
specialization for what?  For hunting first and foremost?  Or for
something else?  If for something else, then either it had no hunting
function or the hunting function was secondary.  The claw doesn't make a
whole lot of sense as a primary hunting weapon for two reasons: its
placement on the foot, the primary means of support, and its shape. 
Unless it was edged along the inner side of the curve, it was simply the
wrong shape to be a really effective cutting/slashing weapon.  

All I'm saying, really, is that if cats and _Thylacoleo_ had claws that
_looked_ like dromaeosaur claws, then maybe the similarity was in
function as well as form.  Cat claws are specialized for two
approximately comatible functions: grabbing/holding prey, and climbing. 
Maybe dromaeosaur laws were specialized the same way, for the same
functions.  An eighty-kilo cat can climb a tree, so why not an
eighty-kilo dinosaur?  (assuming, of course, there were trees around
that were big enough to hold an eighty-kilo dinosaur.)

-- JSW