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Re: a little background



I also find it unlikely that an animal with as much firepower per unit
size as Velociraptor or Deinonychus would be a small-game hunter. 
Despite the light build of the jaw weaponry, it would be more than
sufficient to kill small mammals and reptiles.  

However, I have to agree with HP Jaime Headden regarding his opinion
on the fighting dinosaurs and hunting Deinonychus.  While I see
Deinonychus and Velociraptor as being big-game hunters, this does not
imply (to me, at least) that they regularly attacked species ten times
their size.  I personally believe that the firepower advantage of
large size is often understated.  

Modern big game hunters do not, in general, attack animals that are
many times their size.  A hunter that kills and eats animals close to
or equal to its own weight more than constitutes a big game hunter. 
Thus, while the firepower of Deinonychus implies it could eat
relatively large prey, this "relatively large prey" probably did not
include Tenontosaurus.    

I see an even more extreme example of this problem in predatory-prey
models that include Allosaurs and kin attacking large adult sauropods.
 I see no reason to believe that, even in packs, Allosaurs would risk
taking animals nearly ten times their individual weights.  I *can* see
groups of Allosaurs charging into the panicked herd to grab a young,
injured animal, which takes an awful lot of guts in and of itself.  

--Mike Habib
habib@virginia.edu