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Re: Dromaeosaur hunting technique (was BCF ET CETERA)

Jonathon Woolf <jwoolf@erinet.com> writes:
> If I recall correctly, the typical killing bite for a cat attacking big
prey is
> a stranglehold.  Not very high-precision...
Yes, I was wrong about that; if you're talking about lions and tigers, the
stranglehold is the technique of choice.  On the other hand, the typical
cat does use a precise killing bite.  I quote from the National Geographic
book, _The Kingdom of Cats_:

"Most cats kill small prey by biting them on the back of the neck.  The
cat's canine teeth punch like an awl between the prey's vertebrae, severing
the spinal cord.  The victim dies almost instantly.  The tiny gap between
the vertebrae is almost an impossibly small target, but a high
concentration of nerves around the canine teeth allows the cat to "feel"
for the right spot between the bones."

The documentary miniseries, _The Velvet Claw_, goes into this subject, too.

It's probably the most humane way to be killed in the natural world.  But
this technique wouldn't work on the heavily muscled necks of large
ungulates, especially in close proximity to the antlers and horns, so, as
you say, the big cats go for the throat.  Still, I think that I,
personally, would rather be strangled to death by a lion than eaten alive
by Cape hunting dogs, if given the choice.  To each his own.

> > Imagine, if you will, a _Deinonychus_ pack leaping onto a
_Tenontosaurus_... SNIP!
> A reasonable scenario, IMVHO.  Question, though: what happens if the
> leap on board, and the tenontosaur then folds its own legs and rolls,
hard and
> fast?

Why, if such a thing had ever happened, I suppose we would have found the
fossilized remains not only of the tenontosaurid, but a number of
dromaeosaurid individuals at the same site, in southern Montana, perhaps. 
If so, W. Desmond Maxwell and John H. Ostrom would probably write a paper
entitled _Taphonomy and paleobiological implications of
<Tenontosaurus>-<Deinonychus> associations_, which would be published in
1995 in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, volume 15, pages 707-712! 
Yes, the dromaeosaurids had their bad days, too, and paleontology thrives
on such carnage.

Ralph Miller III <gbabcock@best.com>

"I got a bad feeling about this."