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Re: Claws on deinonychosaurs
At 01:27 PM 1/11/2005, Tim Williams wrote:
Patrick Norton wrote:
When I think of how dromies may have used their enlarged pedal claws, I
remember a cock fight I saw years ago in which gamecocks, each having a
2" recurved bladelike device called a gaff
affixed to their feet, were placed in a pen and allowed to fight. In
those fights, the birds >attacked one another viciously and expertly with
their feet. The primary killing tools in those fights were the gaffs
which they used very effectively to slash one another to shreds, although
stabbing with the beak was also used. Incidentally, at the same time, the
wings were used to aid in leaping attacks and to fluster the opponent.
Some might say this is the result of training, but I was told that there
is very little training required at all. The birds are abused and drugged to
increase their aggressiveness, but they take naturally to using the gaffs
as killing tools.
Sounds like fun for all the family. And to think, all those wasted nights
I spent at home watching the tube - I could've been out witnessing a
bloodthirsty demonstration of animal cruelty.
Agreed, sounds nasty... Obviously this shouldn't be supported, but gleaning
info from knowing that it occurs should be no worse than forensic
scientists learning from violent crime (obviously, they don't support that
activity either), though perhaps that's a tenuous link. (gee I wish I
looked as cool as those CSI guys!).
All in all (absent the abuse and drugs), this seems to me like a
reasonable model for how Dromies
used their equipment.
The sickle-claw sounds like overkill (no pun intended) for intraspecific
combat. It just so happens that in his Dinosaur Heresies book, Bob Bakker
has an illustration of two _Deinonychus_ engaged in combat in almost
exactly the same manner you describe - each with its sickle-claws deployed
to inflict damage upon the other.
This obviously leads into the topic of the evolution of safer intraspecific
dueling adaptations, such as selection for locking horns rather than sharp
stabbing horns in certain lineages of animals (particularly herbivores that
live in large groups), though I'm no expert on this. I'm sure anyone into
ceratopsians could add something here.
School of Biomedical Science
Anatomy and Developmental Biology Dept.,
University of Queensland
Q 4072, AUSTRALIA
Phone: (07) 3365 2720
Mob: 0408 986 301
\_ \ / ,\
Returning home after a hard day of
dodging dinosaur feet and droppings,
only to find their burrow trampled,
one Late Mesozoic mammal says to an other :
"Hey, a falling star, make a wish."