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RE: Titanis paper?
> "Grasping arms" was always a very loose
> interpretation. What is plausible is basically the
> situation found in "spur-wristed" birds (Anhimidae.
> _Plectopterus_, _Pezophaps_, _Vanellus_ spp. etc)
> taken one step further, resulting in "merely"
> extraordinarily flexible wings (for a flightless
I'm not saying you're incorrect, but my impression of _Titanis_ is a little
different. The shape of the proximal part of the major wing digit suggests
that this digit was mobile, which has led to speculation that this digit might
have sported a claw. AFAIK, no wing-claws (spurs are otherwise) are known for
> These might have helped in holding down largish prey.
> Of all the business ends of a phorusrhacid, the wings
> had the shortest reach after all. So for tackling
> whatever prey could be handled by the beak or feet,
> the wings would not have been useful anyway because
> they'd hardly have made contact after all was said and
_Titanis_ is only known from fragmentary material*, and the ideas about its
ecology are highly speculative. The idea that _Titanis_ was a formidable
predator is based on (a) its large size, (2) phorusrhacid affinities; (3)
mobile wing phalanx. Its presumed predatory habits has led to the idea that
its forelimbs were somehow used in predation, in a manner comparable to
tyrannosaurids. But like I said, this is highly speculative.
* Hypodigm (after Alvarenga & Hofling, 2003): Distal portion of the right
tarsometatarsus (UF-4108) (holotype); phalanx 1 of digit III (UF-4109)
associated (?) to the holotype; phalanx 1 of digit III (TMM-43060-115);
proximal extremity of the left tibiotarsus (UF-7333); complete left
carpometacarpus (UF-30003, Fig. 6A); two complete cervical vertebras (C2 and
C3); the proximal portion of the right fibula, phalanges 1, 2 and 3 of the left
digit III and two phalanges 1 of digit IV (left and right) (UF wt/n.).
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