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Re: Velociraptor Footprints( Arundel contemporary)

In a message dated 97-08-26 13:43:05 EDT, you write:

>     Getting down off the back of a large animal is a little safer if you
>  have wings.  Most dromeosaurs were larger then the aforementioned birds,
>  so jumping to the ground, especially without a braking mechanism, might be
>  a little hazardous.  Also, I assume that these birds FLY up onto the backs
>  of thier platforms, although I suppose the dromeosaurs could claw thier
>  way up armoured backs if the herbivore felt inclined to let them.

Sure. Many predator-prey encounters can be just as hazardous for the
attacker. But I doubt that jumping off the back of some poor ceratopsian or
nodosaur would equate to jumping off a cliff!  Even as you say for larger
dromaeosaur types. As for getting on, I would expect that dromaeosaurs would
be much quicker than say, nodosaurs (as in my example) therefore by virtue of
their speed, the initial attack using claws and teeth would likely get them
"on board". Staying on would be the problem with the intended victim writhing
and rolling around to remove it or them. 

But hey, we're just speculating ;-)

In the case of the  few modern birds that use larger mammals or reptiles for
platforms,  many do it to pick pests out of the flesh of their rider thereby
performing a useful (symbiotic) service to the beast. Others use such
platforms as lookout posts (so I have been told) and  the "platform" gets
nothing in return (commensalism) for the ride.

Thomas R. Lipka
Paleontological/Geological Studies