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Re: Velociraptor

Michael wrote:
> > From: Jonathon Woolf <jwoolf@erinet.com>
> > Your understanding is correct.  I suspect the different figures arise
> > from confusing _length_ with _height_.  _Velociraptor mongoliensis_ was
> > up to 180cm long from tip of nose to tip of tail, but because it held
> > its body almost horizontal, its normal posture had its head only about a
> > meter off the ground.
> I saw you mention the wolf and converted Standard to Metric and was
> surprised how close the wolf and Velociraptor are.  Wolves avg ~45-75in
> nose to tip of tail or ~120-190cm.  A large male may be ~240cm.

Mech's figures put the average lengths at 5.0-6.5 feet for males and
4.5-6.0 feet for females.  That's 152-198 cm for males and 137-183 cm
for females.  I've never heard of a wolf reaching 8 feet in length (240
cm), but after learning of a confirmed record of 300 lbs for a mountain
lion I wouldn't be surprised by anything.

> > 15kg does seem a bit light, but not by much.  My own guess based on
> > Dinamation's 3-D models would be in the neighborhood of 20-25kg.  If
> > that still seems light, remember that even a large wolf is under 50kg,
> > and a slender biped like _Velociraptor_ would have much less mass that a
> > heavyset four-footed wolf.
> A small female wolf weighs about 40lbs and small male wolf  55lbs with a
> large male weighing 175lbs.  However 80-125lbs for both males and females
> is average so 50kg is right on average.

Average?  You're kidding, right?  There are three places in all the
world which have wolves breaking 120 lbs, and those are the Northwest
Territories, Finland, and Yugoslavia.  These are true monsters; most
populations have maximums on weight well below 115 lbs.  Based on Mech's
figures (in _The Wolf_) the average globally is about 50-70 lbs, or
around 25-30 kilos.

Since Velociraptors are much more lightly built than wolves, I'd expect
their mass to be correspondingly reduced.  Something like 15-20 kilos
seems reasonable, but CVA's never been my strong suit (love the subject,
but . . .).
> It gave me a better appreciation for their size to compare as well as think
> of the damage a pack could do.

Their main claim to fame is their incredible endurance (300 miles on
foot in the span of a weekend; that's insane) and massive jaw muscles. 
Those jaws can shatter bone, and that lets them do whatever they darn
well want with their prey (well . . .).  This is why I think a good
analysis of dromie jaw structure is essential before we can make *any*
speculation about how they hunt.  If anyone knows of such a cite, please
send it my way.