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Re: Rahonavis; sickle claws
> I seriously doubt that. There are a number of Confuciusornis foot
> illustrated in Chiappe et al. (1999: 47-49). I see no significant
> differences between the unguals of digit II and the others. In one
> (GMV-2130) digit III even appears to be larger than II. And they
> state that "Confuciusornis sanctus lacks the predatorial specializations
> digit II seen in Rahonavis ostromi (Forster et al., 1998a, b) and retained
> to a lesser degree in certain more advanced birds, such as Patagopteryx
> deferrariisi." (p. 47).
Then there's much individual variation (or sexual or who knows). The
specimen in the museum here clearly has weakly but distinctly enlarged claws
on its 2nd toes (all keratinous claw sheaths are preserved), and Sereno
mentions that, too, in his big Evolution of Dinosaurs article in Science.
Anyway, there are clearly no "predatorial specializations" in these claws,
they are too small and probably a bit too straight for that, and -- first of
all -- on the wrong animal.