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RE: Theropod limbs - how mobile?



Michael Lovejoy wrote:

> Can somebody tell me what degree of hindlimb (and forelimb) mobility is 
> available to dromaeosaurs?
 

I'd recommend checking out Alan Gishlick's paper in the recent (sort of)
Ostrom Symposium volume.  From memory (I don't have the chapter at hand),
according to Gishlick the hand of _Deinonychus_ lost much of its
opposability between the pollux (first digit) and the other fingers and the
fingers were immobile along most of their length, courtesy of the 'locked'
phalangeal joints.  The base of the middle (second) digit was elevated above
the first and third digits, and may have provided minimal opposability.  The
semilunate carpal block allowed the hand to execute a wide arc in the
laterodorsal plane - but severely constrained the motion of the hand in
other directions.  The biomechanical coupling between the forearm and elbow
seen in the modern bird's wing (where it's crucial in executing the wing
stroke) was likely to be present in dromaeosaurs.

If time permits, I'll try and provide a better summary of what Alan found
later today - at the moment I'm still steamed after reading a moronic (and
thoroughly untrue) message regarding crime in Australia from the
self-acclaimed 'thecoolguy'.  Don't believe a word of it.

Thankfully, I never saw Dinotopia.  I read a good book.



Tim