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Re: Jurassic Park 4 Script Review

From: "David Marjanovic" <david.marjanovic@gmx.at>
> Oh no. Another limitation is the anatomy of the animal. It can't pronate
> hands. It can't pronate its feet. It can't sprawl its legs. Even its back
> stiff. I don't think its claws -- well-curved on the hands, not so on the
> feet -- can make up for all this in such a large animal.

See www.wildlifewebsite.com/bear/black-bear-climbing-tree-57.html.  Black
bears much heavier than _Deinonychus_ climb with ease, and they don't
require forelimb pronation when climbing (see photo).  Climbing cats may
pronate their forelimbs or they may not.  See the tigers climb at
http://www.don.j.brown.btinternet.co.uk/0105_May2001/index-page17.html and
http://www.dallas.net/~fox/.  Notice that, unlike the bear, the tiger climbs
with its rump at some distance from the tree trunk.  The dromaeosaur's
forelimb movements would be considerably more stereotyped, but not so much
as to prevent climbing.  And the manual unguals and the unguals on the #2
pedal digits are remarkably cat-like.  That is not to say that the remaining
claws couldn't also provide some traction.  I can see no reason why younger,
lighter dromaeosaurs couldn't climb quite well, with or without
wing-assisted incline running.  And not all tree trunks are sheer verticals,
so climbing trees might not pose such a challenge as one might think.

The easiest way to sell the idea of scansorial dive-bombing dromaeosaurs
would be to feature something like _Microraptor gui_, which would be very
credible from a visual standpoint.  Unfortunately, this would emphasize the
problem that all the big raptors in the movies --even the hatchlings -- are
nekkid!  Oops!

"Dino Guy" Ralph W. Miller III
Docent at the California Academy of Sciences
proud member of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology