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Re: Deinonychus claws



>As I've said before, the idea of the foot-claw being only an offensive
>weapon has never made much sense to me.  It's another case of the old
>"what use is half a wing" argument.  Half a wing, of course, isn't much
>use as a wing, but might be excellent use for something else.  Likewise,
>for dromaeosaurs a "half-claw" or a smaller claw wouldn't be much use
>for hunting, but it might be very useful for something else.  Like
>climbing, perhaps.

I don't understand how anything less than the full-blown dromeosaur 
sickle "wouldn't be much use for hunting."  I was under the 
impression that quite a few kinds of animals exercise their claws on 
the flesh of their prey, and most seem to get along without the 
humongous dromeosaur type of claw.  I would say that claws in general 
are useful for hunting, and if a humongous claw is an improvement 
over a normal-sized claw, then a "half-claw" ought to be at least 
half as much an improvement (yes, I am being blatantly Dawkinsian 
here).

The reason I don't buy the climbing argument for dromeosaur claws is 
that climbing animals seem to have a many claws and to spread them 
widely so as to hang on better.  A single spike of the 
telephone-pole-repairman variety strikes me as being a lot less 
useful than a widespread array of smaller claws.  If anyone knows of 
any confirmed arboreoles that go for one big claw, I'd be extremely 
interested--it would be worth having my speculation demolished  :-)

Matt Wedel