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Re: Velociraptor Footprints

Even if dromaeosaurs did hitch a ride now and then, it seems to me 
that it wouldn't account for the scarcity of footprints.  Surely they 
would dismount to drink, and the water's edge is the best place to 
leave a print.  For example, I grew up in north-central 
Oklahoma, and saw egrets hitching a ride on cattle all the time.  But 
they still had to dismount to eat and drink, and they left their 
footprints along the banks of the creek near my parents' house.  
Egrets would hitch a ride when the cattle were grazing, on a 
substrate (grassy pasture) that isn't condusive to trackmaking 
anyway.  IMHO, the tendency to ride cattle doesn't affect trackmaking 
in egrets one way or the other.

For a more sinister take on sauropod riding, check out this ref.

Gallup, M.R.  1989.  Functional morphology of the hindfeet of the 
     Texas sauropod _Pleurocoelus_ sp. indet.; pp. 71-74 in J.O. Farlow 
     (ed.), Paleobiology of the dinosaurs.  Geological Society of America
     Special Paper 238, Boulder, Colorado.

The lower leg and hindfoot of a sauropod were found in standing 
position.  The composition of the surrounding matrix suggests that 
the animal became bogged down in mud.  A scattering of small theropod 
teeth, possibly belonging to dromaeosaurs, were found around the leg, 
and Gallup suggests that after becoming irretrievably stuck, the
helpless sauropod was the victim of theropod predation, perhaps 
spread out excruciatingly over several days.  From the dromaeosaurs' 
point of view, it would be quite a boon:  the All-You-Can-Eat Flesh 

Whether it really happened that way or not, it still makes me 

Matt Wedel