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Re: Claws on deinonychosaurs

On Sun, 30 Oct 2005, Dann Pigdon wrote:
"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.

With control, of course ;)

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

By standing on one leg. Talk about synchronicity, I was thinking that the most effective way to employ the claw as a weapon is to stand on one leg so as to be braced to slash with it. Try it with your own leg(s). Jump and slash with both? Unless you want to hang by your sickle claws, your forelimbs will need to be engaged to.

Here's one possibility for dromaeosaur sickle claws at work:
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.

Which brings up another image to mind - housecats (and by extention, no doubt other cat breeds, including wild) are effective at fighting on their backs and using their claws. I'm positive I've seen depictions of this...