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Re: Dromaeosaur "sickle" claws

Not to be too nit-picky, but, I said nothing about serrations on the claws.
 Swords, scalpels, razors etc. need sharp edges for cutting, not sharp
tips.  If you ever cut yourself with an x-acto knife or razor, you know
it's a clean smooth cut.  Cat scatches rip and rake and bounce over the
surface.  Yes, they can dig in and tear the skin, but not slice it, in the
way I would define SLICING.  It would seem to me also that "raptor" claws
are more like cat claws than scalpels.  When we get to terms like slash,
pierce, cut, rip, etc. we need precise definitions if we want to be talking
about the same things

> From: Gigi Babcock or Ralph Miller III <gbabcock@best.com>
> To: vonrex@gte.net; m_troutman@hotmail.com; dinosaur@usc.edu
> Subject: Re: Dromaeosaur "sickle"  claws
> Date: Tuesday, August 26, 1997 12:50 PM
> From: Ralph Miller III <gbabcock@best.com>
> In my opinion, the highly curved, blade-like "sickle" claw must have been
> able to rake through flesh.  Do swords or scalpels require serrations to
> effective slicers?  
> I have read suggestions that dromaeosaurs might have jumped onto the
> of larger animals, clinging with their hands, and raking with their
> terrible claws.  I also recall reading Jim Kirkland's notion that
> dromaeosaurs would stand on one foot or jump, like a cassowary, and kick
> their prey to death.  (I should point out that in his post he was
> Ken Carpenter's position that dromaeosaurs'  unserrated pedal claws were
> made for stabbing, not slicing).  Of course, we can't prove exactly what
> was going on.  Probably a variety of methods were employed.  I would like
> to propose another possible modus operandi.
> Consider the "fighting dinosaurs" excavated by the 1971 Polish-Mongolian
> expedition at Toogreeg in the Gobi desert.  Here we have an articulated
> skeleton of _Protoceratops_ locked in mortal combat with the dromaeosaur,
> _Velociraptor_.  The ceratopid is clamping down on the forearm of the
> dromaeosaur.  The dromaeosaur, in turn, is grabbing the ceratopid by the
> skull and has its left foot lodged into the ceratopid's throat.  As one
> would expect, the dromaeosaur is preserved lying on its side.  This may
> a case of preservational bias (the dromaeosaur has a body that is quite
> narrow laterally) or it could be that the fight occurred down on the
> ground.  The fossil has not been fully prepared in the photograph at
> so the exact pose of the ceratopid is unclear.  But it seems to me that a
> parallel could be drawn here with one of the attack strategies of extant
> felines.
> House cats will pull small prey to the ground, cling with their forelegs,
> and rake the prey's underbelly with the claws on their hind legs.  (This
> also the classic "catfight" mode employed during intraspecies conflicts
> between cats.  So unless you're a nursing kitten, you are warned to avoid
> stroking the  cat's abdomen while it is lying on its side).  I have often
> seen my cat, Pippin, chase down a toy mouse, grab hold, drop down on her
> side, and have at it with her "sickle" claws.  Interestingly, Mark
> Hallett's illustration of the fighting dinosaurs on page 185 of the book,
> _Dinosaurs: A Global View_, depicts the ceratopid four-square on top of
> dromaeosaur, but that is not the pose seen in the articulated fossil.
> Anyone interested in theropod action simply must read Gregory S. Paul's
> _Predatory Dinosaurs of the World_, particularly the chapter entitled:
> "Lifestyles of the Big and Powerful, and the Small and Fierce, too".  He
> has covered much of the same ground as we have been retracing on this
> Ralph Miller III <gbabcock@best.com>
> "God gave Man the Cat so that He might feel the fur of the Tiger without
> also feeling Her teeth."
> .