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RE: Claw function in Deinonychus

Mike Habib wrote:

I would caution against assuming a single function for the enlarged inner claw in dromeosaurids and troodontids. An enlarged claw on the hindlimb is useful for a number of functions, including dispatching large prey, pinning/dispatching smaller prey, and climbing sheer surfaces (ie trees).

The tree-climbing hypothesis is very interesting, and (as you suggest) it's the kind of thing that needs further study - like comparing the shape of the microraptoran sickle-claw to the claws of modern-trunk climbing birds. However, even this may not be so useful given that small deinonychosaurs probably had an entirely different strategy for climbing - all four limbs could be deployed to get up a tree (more like mammals or lizards), yet they had a bipedal bauplan (as in birds).

Note that in the largest-bodied taxa, the claw seems to be larger proportionately.

Hmmm.. are you sure? I seem to recall that the sickle-claw of _Achillobator_ was proportionately quite small - compared to _Deinonychus_ anyway.

Jerzy Dyczkowski wrote:

Just a fact - Protoceratops was on top, holding the poor Velociraptor arm. So it is better evidence of predatory skill of ceratopsians than deinonychosaurs.

I know you're kidding, but somebody (a former member of this list) actually suggested this! He proposed that the _Protoceratops_ was defending its territory (or its eggs) against a roving _Velociraptor_. In other words, the ceratopsian was the aggressor. (Hello Tracy if you're out there!)

John Hunt wrote:

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

I'll sleep better tonight knowing that. Bill Oddie hosted, eh? That makes sense... it does sound like a scene from the "Goodies".