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Re: Humor: the Uses of Sickle Claws



In a message dated 97-09-29 13:02:54 EDT, gbabcock@best.com writes:

<<  It therefore would seem
 most parsimonious to assume that the dromaeosaurs were using their long,
 sharp hindleg claws to reach among their feathers and groom themselves. >>

Not necessarily a facetious suggestion. The idea of having a specialized
grooming claw goes back at least to the description of _Aetonyx palustris_ by
Robert Broom in 1911, who thought one of its peculiarly shaped claws may have
had this function (and that _Aetonyx_ had feathers of some kind to groom!).
The peculiar claw is presently considered pathological, and _Aetonyx_ is
presently a junior synonym of the prosauropod _Massospondylus_. Perhaps
echoing Broom, Michael Cooper, in his monographic redescription of
_Massospondylus_, suggested this dinosaur may have been equipped with
"thermoplumes."

Cooper, M. R., 1981. "The Prosauropod Dinosaur Massospondylus carinatus Owen
from Zimbabwe: Its Biology, Mode of Life and Phylogenetic Significance,"
Occasional Papers of the National Museums and Monuments, Rhodesia 6(10):
689-840.