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Re: bipedal locomotion

I had said,

>     However, I have collected a fascinating little three-toed track from
> Early Cretaceous of Maryland, that strongly suggests that the tracker was
> moving at a substantially faster-than-walk pace, quickly 'threw on the
> brakes', and skidded more than one pes length, during which time the
> dinosaur had ROTATED THE FOOT (or else the whole body?) to quickly stop
> then immediately (seemingly) dash away at roughly 90 degrees out of the
> direction from which it had been rushing!

    Subsequently, Mark Perew asked:

"How long until someone offers this as evidence of pack hunting carnivors?"

    Such a conclusion would seem non-sequitir to me.  If I were a small
dinosaur, suddenly confronting ONE interested carnivore might be enough to
result in my turning like that!  :)  Or, the animal might just have suddenly
realized that a cliff edge was immediately ahead.  One could speculate until
'blue in the face', but nothing can assure us of what really happened in
this case.

    I suspect that none of our dinosaur list regulars would be capable of
such an incredibly over-drawn conclusion (taking that single track as
evidence of pack hunting carnivores). Objectivity and caution are good
traits, and are very essential when dealing with things that can be so
diversely interpreted as tracks of long-dead animals.  For example: There
are, in the collection, a few ISOLATED three-toed tracks of various sizes
that impress me as conceivably (only possibly) having been made by the
trackmaker having JUMPED onto the ground in a somewhat 'sidweays' direction,
as if having lept down off something; but I certainly would not go so far as
to conclude that the trackmaker had been jumping off the side of a victim
(such as some artists might have illustrated in pack hunting by
Deinonychus).  Notice, for example, that even the initial 'jumped down'
part is only speculation or interpretation of what I personally perceive and
interpret from the shape of the track, and may not reflect what actually

    Let's keep our feet on the ground.  [They make better tracks that way!

    Ray Stanford