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To Climb or not



Hello all,

I think there may have existed a reason for Dromaeosaurs to climb that had
nothing to do with feeding, or direct predator avoidance. Whether they did
or not is something we may well never be able to pin down. Unless of course
we find an upright tree with a Dromaeosaur still firmly grasping a branch.
Then it could be argued that this is not enough proof in that this could
have been the desperate act of a Dromaeosaur being carried along in a
flood. Considering the idea of a feathered dinosaur was at best just a
possibility a year ago, let us not rule anything out.

While Jaime A. Headden is correct in his posting in that the Hell Creek was
dominated by straight trunked conifers there were also a good number of
leafy trees that reached the size required to support a Dromaeosaur. I can
cite them if required but I don't feel like digging through my refs right
now.

 Anyway, if Dromaeosaurs were related to the feathered dinosaurs, and it
sure seems they were, then there is another reason to climb. I'm not saying
this is so, but just a possibility. That being a predisposition to nest in
trees. The same gains that extant birds have in such nesting would be
available to the Dromaeosaur. Yes, I realize there are many species of
extant birds that are ground nesters. That's not the point. Many more nest
off the ground.

In the Hell Creek there is a preponderance of evidence that points toward a
very wet ecosystem. The need to keep eggs dry and avoid small nest raiders
may have lead to climbing of and nesting in trees. If this is the case then
we may well never find an egg from a Dromaeosaur, which saddens me
personally.

By the way, it's good to know that the grasses of the late Cretaceous got
started in wet waters as opposed to dry waters. ;~> (Shaken not stirred).
Sorry Tom, couldn't stop myself.

Roger A. Stephenson
Assistant Director
The Grand River Museum
Lemmon, South Dakota
http://www.iw.net/~roger/