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Re: Dromaeosaur hunting technique (was BCF ET CETERA)



Gigi Babcock or Ralph Miller III wrote:


> There are surely a variety of possible dromaeosaur hunting scenarios,
> depending somewhat on the size, speed, and body type of the prey item in
> question, and whether stealth, endurance pursuit, or pack hunting figure
> into your view.  In our mammal-dominated world, big cats may finish off
> their quarry with a precise bite, but the initial strike is often more a
> matter of batting with the paws, snagging or hooking with the claws,
> requiring only so much force as is needed to knock a running animal down,
> or to drag a standing animal to the ground.

If I recall correctly, the typical killing bite for a cat attacking big prey is
a stranglehold.  Not very high-precision, nor a very graceful sight to see a
half-ton wildebeest with a 150-kilo lioness dangling from its throat and two or
three others draped all over its flanks.  It's an ugly, nasty, slow, dangerous
way to kill a prey animal, but sometime or other cats got locked into that as
their stereotyped kill tactic.  Predators aren't always as graceful or well
designed as we think they should be.

> Imagine, if you will, a _Deinonychus_ pack leaping onto a _Tenontosaurus_
> individual with all claws at once (each theropod pulling its neck back into
> an s-curve during the initial strike).  Perhaps the dromaeosaurs would then
> quickly jockey for position until each secured a firm grasp of the
> ornithopod with their forearms, freeing up the legs to facilitate raking
> the ornithopod to ribbons.

A reasonable scenario, IMVHO.  Question, though: what happens if the dromies
leap on board, and the tenontosaur then folds its own legs and rolls, hard and
fast?

-- Jon W.