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At 09:02 PM 29/09/97 -0700, you wrote:
>Although I know that most knowledgeable paleofolks disagree with me I must
>(sigh) say again that I don't buy the "killing murder sickle claw"
>dromaeosaur hype.  Consider this:  I don't think anyone is maintaining that
>the BIG claw was sharp like a scalpel along the inner curve and could just
>slice through tissue like a razor or scalpel. Or am I wrong about this?  I
>think it was big and pointy and could pierce and hold, and no doubt rip
>skin when pulled. 

It would not need to be sharp like a razor.  Have you ever walked quickly by
a counter top or the corner of a table?  You are capable of cutting yourself
on both of these.  The corner is sort of sharp, exerted no force, you were
only walking, yet it manages to give you a scrape (hardly life threatening).
Now, imagine a claw, being weilded by an animal that is a hunter.  This claw
has no razor edge, but has a sharpened tip, and is curved, with the striking
edge being sharper than the back edge.  This animal has muscles that are
designed to push this claw through a wide range of motion.  The muscles in
the foot are attached to legs and hips that are designed to accomodate this
foot and motion for the downward thrust kick.  Sure it would use it's teeth
and hand claws when it attacked, but why would it not use this whole highly
derived system for attack. It seems like a way overdone grooming system.

> But imagine kicking or punching a foe with just one
>finger or toe.  Even a finger or toe that was big and sharp. You would risk
>breaking the digit with the force of the blow, which seems like a bad idea.
>  I suggest that dromaeosaurs kicked with all their toes for cushioning the
>blow to their own foot and for more impact, and pressed or curled in hard
>with the tips to pierce at the same time.  I have seen an illustration of a
>dromaeosaur hanging on the side of a big galloping tenontosaur with all its
>weight borne by its two big "sickle claws"- the hands merely holding on. 
>This seems to put an unreasonable amount of strain on those toes,  and if
>they were so damn important, I hardly think the animal would do that. 
Nobody is suggesting that they were doing front thrust kicks.  Rather the
suggestion is that they were "in-fighting"; standing close, holding on, and
striking.  Remember, they were not just using their toes, but also their
highly modified musculature to deal the blow.  The kick is not out as much
as down.

>But then I also am very skeptical that they only walked on two toes also. 
Dromaeosaurs are rare.  Footprints of Late Cretaceous theropds are rare.
Why would you expect to see many of these?  All we have to go on is
extrapolations from skeletal material and modern counterparts, which has
been done ad nauseum.

Darryl            <dinoguy@interlog.com>
Visit my webpage at:
"Genetics explains why you look like your father, and if
you don't, why you should."  (anonymous)