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RE: Gigantoraptor stuff

Tim Williams wrote:

> _Gigantoraptor_ reminds me of a giant moa (dinornithid).  The resemblance
> is
> probably largely superficial, and I'm really going out on a limb here (so
> to
> speak)... but I can't help wonder if maybe those big clawed hands were
> used
> not for attack but for defense.  Those raking hands would prompt a roving
> tyrannosaur to think twice about coming too close.  Also, winged arms and
> hands might have made the animal (or at least the forelimb) appear even
> bigger and scarier than what it was.  Just idle speculation.

Among big flightless Caenozoic birds, dinornithids are perhaps the _least_
like _Gigantoraptor_ in several respects:

The head is extremely small, the jaws shallow and beak hookless, implying an
extreme of the ratite 'pluck and swallow' feeding style rather than the
cutting and crushing ability attested by the deep, robust and apparently
hooked (parrot-like) jaws and beak of the oviraptorid.

Dinornithids have very short tarsometatarsi and long tibiotarsi relative to
most other birds and bipedal dinosaurs: I'm not sure what functional
explanation there may be for these odd proportions, but cursoriality does
not seem to be a candidate.

And moas totally lacked forelimbs, defensive or otherwise.

Dr John D. Scanlon, FCD
Riversleigh Fossil Centre, Outback at Isa
19 Marian Street / PO Box 1094
Mount Isa  QLD  4825
Ph:   07 4749 1555
Fax: 07 4743 6296
Email: riversleigh@outbackatisa.com.au

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Tim Williams [mailto:twilliams_alpha@hotmail.com]
> Sent: Thursday, June 14, 2007 12:44 PM
> To: dinosaur@usc.edu
> Subject: RE: Gigantoraptor stuff