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RE: a little background

Jaime Headden wrote:

>Many perching birds have such claws ... but do not use them to eviserate 
>larger prey than themselves.

Ah, but they aren't dromaeosaurids are they...?         :-)

The seriemas (Cariamidae), which roost in trees, have a substantially
enlarged inner claw.  In the Cariamidae, the inner claw pales in comparison
to the enlarged, hyperextensible claw of dromaeosaurids.  Neverthless, the
enlarged (but not hyperextensible) claw of cariamids is used as a predatory
weapon.  In some raptorial birds the inner claw is also slightly larger than
the other two.  No modern bird (not even the flightless cassowary) has a
pedal claw as large or as specialized as the "sickle-claw" of the



Timothy J. Williams 

USDA-ARS Researcher 
Agronomy Hall 
Iowa State University 
Ames IA 50014 

Phone: 515 294 9233 
Fax:   515 294 3163