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Re: Climbing dromaeosaurs?

Randy King wrote:

> >We've bandied about theories here concerning the utility of
> >dromaeosaurs' enlarged hindclaws, and discussed the difficulty they'd
> >have had slashing with them.  Some have suggested that the claw may
> >have been used instead to climb trees.
> I've never liked this theory.  There are many successful strategies
> for climbing trees, and nothing like the dromaeosaur claw.  Although
> it seems that such a claw would work, it doesn't seem like it would
> work that well.  And if it did, three or four suck claws should work
> better.  And it seems a sicle would work much better on a hand or
> foreleg than the rear leg.

In fact dromaeosaurs do have rather large sickle shaped claws on their
hands. Those claws are smaller than the largest pes claw, but they are
still incredibly large for the size of the animal.

Also, when humans climb trees or telephone poles we strap on cleats with
a single large spike on the inside of our foot. Hmm, that #II claw
doesn't seem like a bad idea after all. There was an article in Science
two or three years ago correlating pes claw curvature with perching
behaviour in extant birds and -Archaeopteryx-. I wonder how the various
dromaeosaurs would fit in the analysis.

William Monteleone