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Re: Sickles and Ken Carpenter's paper

I thought Carpenter's paper was excellent, and argued
well against the practicality of using the sickle claw
to create long disembowling slashes in large animals.
The Manning paper _supports_ Carpenter's conclusions
re disembowling (and by implication throat piercing),
rather than arguing in opposition to it.

The point of difference relative to claw function is
that Carpenter makes no mention of a possible climbing
function, and the Manning paper does. 

One thing is certain; if you believe that the sickle
claw was engineered for use in disembowlment,
throat-piercing, and/or climbing trees, then you are
forced to admit the claw was physically capable of
being used in the manner suggested Manning et al.
Also, Habib's comments re claw multi-function are
still relevant...

One point I believe is missing in the sickle claw
debate on list is that (if my sources per the fossil
record are correct) Utahraptor, the _largest_
dromaeosaur is also the _oldest_, and Velociraptor is
one of the _youngest_, and therefore perhaps the most

Therefore, if the case can be made that V. was
_physically_ capable of easily killing the largest
sauropods using the claw as a _climbing_ device, then 
speculation regarding larger dromaeosaur ancestors is
justified. There seems to be little overlap between
large sauropods and V. in the fossil record. IMO, that
may be no coincidence, considering the readily
apparent extreme vulnerability of large sauropods to
neck attack by climbing neck-gnawing pack-hunting

Ornithiscians were probably a much tougher nut to
crack... and then there's the stegosaurian "spinal
obstacle course". No free run up that guy's back...


--- Richard and Jo Cowen <cowen@blueoakfarm.com>

> I just had the chance to read Ken Carpenter's paper
> in Gaia, in  
> particular his reconstruction of the Velociraptor
> vs. Protoceratops  
> confrontation. I am completely convinced by his
> arguments for throat- 
> ripping by Velociraptor, and his arguments that
> disemboweling is not  
> a good idea for the sickle claw of V.
> The contrast between Carpenter's careful reasoned
> reconstruction from  
> real fossils, and the bad design and poor logic of
> the Brit modelers  
> could not be stronger. There's probably a moral
> there...
> Cheers
> Richard