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Re: Baryonyx Claw
Quite a few artists have been sculpting and depicting dinosaur claws and
horns with a variety of textured surfaces. By and large, I think they
have it wrong.
Take a look at the horns of the triceratops in JP. They are cracked,
rough, and generally weathered looking like an old adobe building. Horny
keratinous sheaths for large dromeosaur claws are available as casts,
and they too have been sculpted to show a ridged, heavily textured
surface. The problem is that textured surfaces on predator claws would
be difficult to keep clean. Blood and other tissues would get caked on,
and would grow bacteria, and attract flies.
In modern animals, the claws are almost always smooth. Just about
everything from eagles to cats have smooth claws. And they keep them
that way by scratching on trees and such. Thin layers of keratin peel
away leaving smooth and sharp claws ready for use. Predators in
particular are meticulous about keeping their weaponry clean.
Bird beaks are another example of a keratinous covering over bone. Most
bird beaks are smooth to shiny. They aren't cracked like old pottery!
And if you watch raptorial birds, they give a quick one-two stroke on
their beaks after eating. Falconers call this "feaking".
There are textured horns, such as on antelopes, goats, and other
ungulates which have intricate, rough surfaces, but these are not used
as primary weapons for grasping, or tearing flesh. So my vote; smooth