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Therizinosaurus



Hello, I've been a big dino-fan for as long as I can literally remember.
I'm definitely no expert, however, just an interested bystander.  I recently
discovered this mailing list while searching the web for information on
therizinosaurus.  I bought the Safari Ltd. replica of this dinosaur for my
daughter's and my collection, and it was a species I had never even heard of
before.

Anyway, from the discussion I saw on therizinosaurus, it seems the function
of its claws are still debated.  The two main theories, as I see it, are: 1)
it used its claws to pull branches towards it in a manner similar to Moropus
and Megatherium, or 2) it used its claws in a manner similar to aardvarks
and anteaters to slice open termite nests.  The problem with theory 1 is
that therizinosaurus' claws are more sickle shaped, much better suited for
slashing (like slashing a termite nest) than for pulling down branches.  The
problem with theory 2 is that it seems unlikely an animal as big as
therizinosaurus could get enough nutrition solely from an insectivorous
diet.  I thought about this, and asked myself what we normally see sickles
being used for, but to cut down stalks of grain.  So could therizinosaurus
have been using its claws to cut down stalks of something?  Then I looked at
the box the replica came in, where it said "Dinosaurs of China," and I
suddenly thought of bamboo.  I know there are bamboo forests today in China
that could easily have fed a therizinosaurus, but I have no idea if bamboo
was around in the late Cretaceous or in the areas therizinosaurus skeletons
are found.  Anyway, I just thought I'd ask people smarter than me what they
thought of a possibility of a bamboo diet for therizionosaurus.

Greg Jensen