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the maniraptoran wrist



Greetings all

I have not been a member of the list before now, but being an evolutionary
zoologist with wide interests I have been following the archives with great
pleasure for a long time. I have a question about the origin and function of
the maniraptoran wrist, and if members of this list can't help me out, then
who can?

As members of this list will be aware of, anatomically the Maniraptora are
defined as possessing (among other things) a wrist modified with a fused
semilunate carpal block.  This queer anatomy enable these theropods to
fold the hand parallel to the lower arm. That the primary function of the
maniraptoran wrist was to grasp prey was suggested years ago, and from
what I read it is still often accepted as an unchallenged fact.

-But can someone please direct me to the evidence or arguments for that
a wrist equipped with a semilunate carpal block (restricting the wrist
movement to a birdlike folding curve) would in any way help the animal to
grasp a prey more quickly and/or more firmly?  Have there been other
suggestions for the primary function of this specialized wrist?
(I do not quite believe that the maniraptoran flick of the wrist is a result
of selection for the ability to flap incipient dinobird wings...)


Respectfully Torfinn Ørmen