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Re: Deinonychus claws; love 'em or leave 'em

Cats have claws to pull down animals several times thier own size. The 
forelimbs are usually used to pull an animal down and then the hind claws 
may be brought into action.Often, they don't have to be. Lions and tigers 
have very powerfull forequarters for this reason. If Deinonychus didn't, 
it might have relied upon its hindclaws to pull down prey larger than it was.

Stephen Faust                   smfaust@edisto.cofc.edu

On Fri, 25 Apr 1997, Jonathon Woolf wrote:

> Erik Omtvedt wrote:
> > 
> > I don't understand why people want to deny the obvious and make up all of
> > these external excuses for the claw.  Deinonychus and velociraptor were
> > killers.  Evolution would not give a devise for climbing--especially to a
> > large animal--when the animal's main purpose was to hunt the ground
> > feeders.  Besides, what good would a wolf-size predator do in the trees?
> > Talk about the energy envolved to climb and then what would he do once he
> > got up there?  Look people, the claws were for killing, not to climb up
> > in trees to eat its kill like big cats, not to punture a hole in the prey
> > and hope that it bleeds to death.  Carving, cutting, slicing, dicing.
> > La la la la la.
> First of all, leopards find trees quite useful for lookouts.  Leopards
> have also been known to drop from trees to ambush prey -- it's rare, but
> it's happened.  It's even been caught on film once or twice.  Leopards
> also use tres to protect prey from scavenging hyenas and lions.
> If "evolution would not give a device for climbing" to a large animal
> (which _Deinonychus_ wasn't, as either dinosaurs or mammals go), how
> much more puzzling is it to find a killing weapon on the _hind_ feet,
> the walking feet?  That more than anything is what makes me doubt the
> view you espouse.  _Deinonychus_ was bipedal,  with perfectly
> serviceable claws on its hands and a mouthful of teeth that would make a
> crocodile whistle in admiration.  In other words, it was an extremely
> well-adapted predator without the foot-claws.  So, why add the
> foot-claws?  It didn't need them.  Other theropods did perfectly well
> without them.  They make no sense simply as added attack weapons. 
> Therefore, it seems reasonable to look for a second function for them,
> some context in which they do make evolutionary sense.  
> -- JSW