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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