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Re: Raptors climbing trees?



Dustin Mendus writes:

Is there any likelihood of Velociraptor, Utahraptor, or Deinonychus being
able to climb trees? Using their back claws like hooks into the tree, and
moving upward? It seemed quite likely with the Jurassic Park depiction of
Deinonychus(though the wrists are wrong...), but, is it possible at all with
the real thing? Utahraptor or Deinonychus in particular, really.

Dromaeosaur bodies seem like they'd have been fairly stiff and bird-like to me. Having a long stiffened tail, and hips, wrists and ankles all with limited ranges of motion, would have made climbing quite difficult for the larger bodied species. Unless of course you call the occasional mad scramble up something 'climbing'. Smaller dromaeosaurs (below Velociraptor size) may have been luckier, and certainly animals like Microraptor seem to have what appear to be arborial (or at least scansorial) adaptations. However I don't envisage something like Deinonychus leaping gracefully about the tree-tops like a spider monkey.


Then tere are two things required for an animal to climb; the ability and the desire. Lions and leopards aren't all that different physically speaking, but the latter spend far more time climbing than the former do. On the other side of the coin, compare arborial foxes to their terrestrial cousins. Physically there are few obvious differences, so it seems the arborial nature of one species is governed more by behaviour than physical form. So even if you can determine whether or not a particular theropod *could* climb, that doesn't necessarily mean that it ever *did*.

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Dann Pigdon
GIS / Archaeologist              http://geo_cities.com/dannsdinosaurs
Melbourne, Australia             http://heretichides.soffiles.com
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