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Re: Velociraptor

Chris Campbell wrote:
> 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.

These agree substantially with the best figures I was able to find in my
half-dozen books on wolves.  One book does mention a single specimen
killed in Quebec was 2.5m long, tip of nose to tip of tail.  However, I
don't know the circumstances of that -- if the measurement was of the
whole animal or a stretched skin, etc.  In any case, the largest,
heaviest wolves are certainly freaks, as with "record" animals of most
other species.  Mech's figures are as good as any I've seen for average

Me, I gave up being surprised by animal sizes the day I read that
Siberian tigers can reach four meters long and over 350kg in mass.  

> > 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.

<g>  The Inuit say that "the wolf is kept fed by its feet."  Twenty or
thirty miles a day is typical for a hunting wolf in home territory.  A
traveler in search of a new home range . . . 300 miles is unlikely but
not impossible.  

> 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.

I don't know of any, but I agree with the sentiment.  Jaws and teeth can
tell a lot about what an animal hunts.  So can the gut, but sadly that
doesn't fossilize.  

-- JSW