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Re: Once more with feeling! (Avoid if you're sick of tridactyl dromaeosaurs!)

 From: Peter Von Sholly <vonrex@gte.net>
> To: dinosaur@usc.com
> Subject: Once more with feeling! (Avoid if you're sick of tridactyl
> Date: Friday, December 12, 1997 2:57 PM
> While in NYC over Thanksgiving, I happened to visit the AMNH and saw that
> their recent Velociraptor model is clearly tridactyl (and looks perfectly
> normal and natural that way).  Now we're talking.  And their Deinonychus
> skeleton looks fine with the three main toes (2-4) extended in concert,
> with digit two broken and dislocated up against the metatarsal as so many
> books and images indicate.  (By the way, hyperextended would mean that
> toe is pulled all the way up and hyper flexed would be all the way down,
> curled under, I believe).  These toes are somewhere in between, in the
> leaping pose.
> It seems to me that if you think these fellows (dromaeosaurs and
> were two-toed walkers you have to PROVE it somehow.  I also recently read
> Ostrom's paper and saw the excruciating detail with which he describes
> toes, but remain unsold that toe two was NECESSARILY held up while
>  Clearly it's a weird short toe with a bigass claw (copryright 1997
> T.R.H.).  We cannot know that it was used as the primary killing weapon
> either (granted behavior is pretty hard to prove).  It's a compelling
> and little more.
> Whereas theropods are generally considered tridactyl walkers (normal for
> the kind of animals they were) and there are no footprints to support
> didactyly anywhere, it seems the expectation for these guys would be the
> same. Indeed there are footprints that seem to support just the opposite
> the didactyl mode, as Dan Varner has pointed out.
> I also went to the YPM and observed the mounts there, and noted again
> the walking one is virtually tridactyl anyway, as is.  The toes reach the
> ground quite nicely.  
> I don't care if I considered a "crank" about this.  Ostrom fails to
> demonstrate that this was the case (for me anyway), although he trots out
> some good possibilities and ideas- which is good.  We should explore all
> reasonable avenues.  And this does not detract from Ostrom's great work
> prestige.
> Again I know most people disagree with me- so why do I care?  Why do I
> harping on this to the extreme boredom and annoyance of many?  Because I
> feel we've been sold a bill of goods here that is WRONG (not with malice,
> not with evil intent- but WRONG nonetheless) and I'm sick of looking at