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RE: Claw function in Deinonychus

Hi Tim,

As Bill Oddie, a well known bird lover and lesser known comedian was hosting
the programme, the turkeys were deceased.

Now if other well known comedians had been hosting the program (think Monty
Python) it may have been different.


-----Original Message-----
From: owner-dinosaur@usc.edu [mailto:owner-dinosaur@usc.edu] On Behalf Of
Tim Williams
Sent: 26 October 2005 20:08
To: dinosaur@usc.edu
Subject: RE: Claw function in Deinonychus

Andrew Simpson wrote:

>Excellent points Richard. My own take is rather simple. Why have the thing 
>if it's so unnecessary? I
>don't think such a weapon would develop if it wasn't a very useful and 
>necessary tool. And it remained on every dromaeosaur and Troodont for as 
>long as they remain in the fossil record

Perhaps not *all* troodontids.  In _Borogovia_ this claw is straight, not 
sickle-shaped, and it's hard to imagine how useful it could have been as a 
predatory tool.  In _Tochisaurus_, the second metatarsal is reduced and very

slender, so the second toe may have lacked a "killer-claw".

AFAIK, the idea that the deinonychosaurian sickle-claw was used as an 
eviscerating device goes back to John Ostrom and his studies on 
_Deinonychus_.  (Sorry if this has been mentioned before - I came in late to

this discussion).

Finally, there is a contrarian view that the sickle-claw originally evolved 
as a tree-climbing aid, and was later exapted into a predatory instrument.

John Hunt wrote:

>The programme also starred Ken and a robotic Ankylosaur tail that was used
>to break all the ribs of a pig carcase and send turkeys (standing in for
>Velociraptor) flying across the room.

Sounds like a fun thing to do at Thanksgiving - except if you happen to be 
the poor turkey standing around waiting to be thagomized by a tail-club.  
Just dragging the bird to the chopping block is probably more humane, and 
much less messy.