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Re: Dinosaur Hand Shakes

On Wed, 13 Aug 1997 21:18:52 -0500 franczak@ntplx.net (Brian Franczak)
>Judy -
>You wrote:
>>> I'd like to add Dilophosaurus: First 4 digits, palm perpendicular to
>> floor, thumb up,  "ring" finger very small, thumb with some 

>This sounds all right except for the opposable thumb, of which I'm not 
>sure. Did you hear this somewhere (other than from Dr. Bakker)? AFAIK, 
>dromaeosaurs had "opposable" "thumbs".
I got this from a post by John R. Hutchinson on Sunday, 20 July, 1997, in
answer to a question about the Dilophosaurus home page,

I quote him:" Dilophosaurus is not alone among theropods, or saurischians
for that matter, in possessing a grasping manus with some opposability of
digit ! (the hallux, or thumb).  Many other specimens of other taxa show
some evidence of having some degree of grasping ability.  The four digit
manus is characteristic of most basal theropods."  

He cites a reference of Welles, S. P. 1984., Palaeontographica Abteilung
A 185: 83-180, the hand being on page 153.  Since I do not have access to
this paper, I took Hutchinson's description as a basis for my handshake. 
But I had not seen much talk about opposability of digits in dinosaur
hands before, so I wanted to check on that with this list.  Can anyone
elaborate on this topic? 

Thanks a lot, Brian, for quickly replying!  A **great** help!

Judy Molnar
Education Associate, Virginia Living Museum
All questions are valid; all answers are tentative.

>> T. rex : digits 1 and 2 (thumb and forefinger), held as if you were 
>> child about to shoot an imaginary gun, palm perpendicular to the 
>> T. rex could not oppose the 2 digits.
>> Triceratops:  Since the thumb, index and middle fingers had hooves 
>> the others did not, I'd hold the palm parallel to the floor and do a
>> "Vulcan salute" with the thumb not too spread out.
>Also okay.
>> Brachiosaurus and all other sauropods:  all 5 digits are spread 
>evenly in
>> an arc, palm parallel to the floor, with a thumb jutting slightly 
>out to
>> depict the long claw.
>> Allosaurus, Deinonychus, Velociraptor, Giganotosaurus: digits 1, 2, 
>> (thumb, forefinger, middle finger) held with the thumb up, the other 
>> digits close together, as if you were pretending to shoot a "double
>> barreled" gun; palm perpendicular to the floor.  Birds also have 
>> handshake.
>> Hadrosaurs (all duckbills): Have no thumbs, so I'd tuck it in, then 
>> my pinky to the side, palm parallel to the floor, 3 middle fingers
>> together.
>> Stegosaurus and Ankylosaurus: Like Triceratops?? Help!
>Close enough to _Triceratops_ as to make no difference.
>> Iguanodon: held hands with 2 thumbs pointing up, the next 3 digits 
>> hoof-like nails to bear weight, the pinky flexible enough to maybe 
>> plants like a panda's wrist bone, palm held perpendicular to the 
>> but could be parallel too.
>> Pachycephalosaurus and other boneheads:  Not enough post cranial 
>> to tell?? Help!
>Most likely five-"fingered" hands, "thumb" and digits 1, 2, and 3 
>clawed, 4
>and 5 so small as to almost seem vestigial. Pachycephalosaurs (and 
>small ornithopods like dryosaurs or hypsilophodonts) had the most
>"human-like" hands of all dinosaurs. No "mittens" or pads, just five
>fingers. Palm held perpendicular to the floor for a "handshake."