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Re: Claws on deinonychosaurs



"Richard W. Travsky" wrote:
> 
> I doubt grooming would be a use (altho in this case, maybe it
> would be scratchin).

Perhaps not in later dromaeosaurs. There's always the possibility that
more basal dromies originally used their enlarged pedal claws for just
such a purpose, and they were exapted for other purposes in later forms.
Manual claws can't reach everywhere, and serrated teeth don't seem to me
to be ideal grooming implements. Many extant creatures, from dogs and
frogs to hummingbirds, also use their hind limbs for grooming purposes.

> If the claw is bigger on males, then it's perhaps sexual selection
> at work.

See the front page of my (long neglected) website for an animated pair
of Velociraptors displaying to each other by flashing their sickle
claws. http://www.geocities.com/dannsdinosaurs

Here's one possibility for dromaeosaur sickle claws at work:
http://www.geocities.com/dannsdinosaurs/vrapatak.html
Note the five-pronged approach of feet, hands and teeth. No immediately
fatal precision blow is necessary if a 'death by a thousand cuts'
approach is used (ie. worry the prey into a state of shock with lots of
smaller wounds). Canids and big cats use a similar method on prey larger
than themselves. They usually don't risk going for the throat unless the
prey is on the brink of exhaustion or shock.

-- 
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Dann Pigdon
GIS / Archaeologist         http://heretichides.soffiles.com
Melbourne, Australia        http://www.geocities.com/dannsdinosaurs
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