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Re: Dromaeosaur "sickle" claws
Matthew Troutman wrote:
> I have been carefully watching the arguments on the dromaeosaur "
> sickle" claws and these are my positions and evidence.
> First of NO claw is specifically adapted to slice or sickle prey. Not
> even cat claws. Slicing prey without the aid of serrations on a slicing
> weapon is impossible. The claw just get " stuck" in the side of the
> animal it is holding onto. Dromaeosaur claws most closely resemble
> piercing claws like a woodpecker claw. So it is more likely that they
> were using their claws not for slicing but for grasping. It is highly
> unlikely that any animal is adapted to slash and slice prey with claws.
> If any of you have ever seen a cat kill something it does not slice it,
> it STABS it. The only things that are adapted for slicing are serrated,
> recurved teeth. NOT claws.
For a start, can we be sure that the swivel claws of dromaeosaurs
did not bear serations? I would assume that the exact shape of the
keratin covering is not known. Then again, keratin may not be such
a good medium for holding useful serations. I can't think of
any extant examples of serated keratin sheaths.
As for cat's claws, the damage inflicted on a large herbivore's
hide by the claws of lions can be quite substantial. If just the
tip of the claws are inserted they can slash quite well (speaking
from experience of playing with a particularly huge tomcat). A
single deep slash may not have been possible, but perhaps repeated
shallow slashes could have served to weaken prey through blood loss.