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RE: Killing Claws



[ My apologies if this message appears to come out of left field.  My
  records indicate that I distributed it on December 16, but either I
  made a mistake or the mail got lost in transit.  I had to pull this
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  bit screwed up in my copy of the message.  I think my version of who
  wrote what is correct below, but if not then it's my fault and I
  apologize for that as well.  -- MR ]

Sam Girouard wrote:

>        Thomas Holtz commented on the "fighting specimen", GI 100/25:
>
>>Having seen slides of the fully prepared specimen, this shows some
>>really interesting aspects of interspecific combat.  In particular,
>>one of the hindfeet (the left, if I remember correctly) is placed
>>with the sickle-claw in the neck of the Protoceratops, not the belly
>>as previously thought!
>
>        I think is likely that this posistion was arrived at after the
>death of one or both animals. Why? If I was a Velociraptor, that would
>be the last place I would put my foot (or any other portion of my
>anatomy, for that matter!). The powerful beak of Protoceratops would
>have been its main defence, and I don't think a living Velociraptor
>would put its foot so very close to it.

Actually, the neck is the most likely place for the Velociraptor to
strike.
 Most large prey hunters will strike at the neck, despite its
proximity to the mouth or beak in this case, because the neck will
make a kill very quickly.  I realize this may be mammalocentric, but
watch most dogs and cats hunt and you will find bites to the neck very
common.  I have also seen birds defend their nests against much larger
predators by striking at the head.  Besides, if the velociraptor is
attacking by coming up along the side from the rear, the beak is in a
poor postion for defense.  Again, watch most any large predator take
down a large prey item.

Joe Daniel