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The Epidendrosaurus and aye-aye
Another question about the habits of Epidendrosaurus/Scansoriopteryx
So far, the consensus on the behavior of Epidendrosaurus that seems to
be emerging is that these little guys were arboreal ambush predators
(correct me if I'm wrong), as in HP Headden's great sketch on the new
I have no problem with this interpretation, but I would like to raise
the question, even if my suggestion is to be shot down, of the
similarities between Epidendrosaurus and the Aye-Aye of Madagascar.
When Epidendrosaurus was first hinted at way back last year, the "little
wonder" was compared to an aye-aye, particularly in the similarity of
the two (or maybe three) species' hands. They all have a long, spidery
The aye-aye, a sort of mammalian take on a woodpecker, uses its finger
in the same way a woodpecker uses its tongue, to pry wood-boring grubs
from their tunnels. Epidendrosaurus, with its elongated finger, and
with its stabilizing, woodpecker-esque tail (as suggested by HP Headden)
might have done something similar.
Now, I know that the dinosaur has none of the cranial adaptations of the
mammal (the aye-aye's bizarre teeth, for example), and I know that the
only known remains of Epidendrosaurus and Scansoriopteryx were from
sub-adults, but we may still be able to draw some concrete conclusions
about their lifestyle. Are, for instance, the joints of the dinosaurs'
elongated fingers fairly flexible (indicating a grub-pick) or stiff
(indicating, perhaps, support for a feather structure)?
(And the delicious pun in the subject heading modified from the writings
of Gerald Durrell)