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RE: Major new paper on dromaeosaurids, with other significant maniraptoran info

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr. wrote:

Most oviraptorosaurs are propubic, or at least mesopubic, so reversals are
necessary here.

Ah yes. My bad.

I don't know about that, particularly if these critters went after very
small prey (lizards and the like). Wing feathers can take a fair amount (not
huge amount, but fair) of punishment in at least some living birds.

Yes. Indeed many birds use their wings for intraspecific combat - and even have wing-spurs specialized for this purpose.

As for using the forelimbs for catching small prey (lizards and the like), the trouble with this hypothesis is that maniraptoran hands do not appear to be all that well adapted for seizing small prey. Large prey, yes - small prey, maybe not. The semilunate carpal block ("swivel-wrist") constrained motion of the hand outside of the mediolateral plane, and the long and relatively inflexible fingers seem poorly adapted for one-handed grasping and raking. According to Gishlick, the grasping/raking ability primitive for the theropod manus was actually lost in the _Deinonychus_ manus. Gishlick did describe how maniraptorans could grasp small prey in a two-handed 'scooping' fashion; but IMHO this would be inferior to the method that was employed by more primitive theropods - just grabbing the prey with one hand.


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