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Re: Raptors climbing trees?

Of course, we will never know what they "did". Our task should be to
determine what they were at least possible of doing. True, a full-grown Deinonychus leaping from branch to branch MAY be hard to realistically imagine. But what about a juvenile? It's hard to imagine the majority of behaviors living animals practice, but it happens. This question shouldn't be limited to the species, it's also a question of ecology (what sort of branches were there to leap to & from?). Especially given that there are tyrannosaurs and/or other larger predators in most every environment dromaeosaurs are know from, ANY escape method should not be ruled out w/o proof of impossibility.Â<<<

Some good points, but I strongly disagree with the statement "Our task should be to determine what they were at least possible of doing." While not uninteresting (humans can do the splits), what's far more informative is to look for what an organism is adapted (i.e. specialized) to do. This requires putting them into their phylogenetic context (primates can generally do the splits, and people are actually worse at it) to understand what the evolutionary changes are telling us.

There is little doubt that dromaeosaurs of small to medium size could get up the right kind of tree (preferably one with lots of branches to grab on to) if they really wanted to. But there is no evidence at all that dromaeosaurs were specializing for spending time up in trees, so there doesn't appear to have been a strong selective pressure (if any) on arborreal lifestyles. None of them show adapations for leaping from branch to branch (and actually show some adapations that would make them worse at it), ergo such activities probably played as much of a roll in their daily lives as doing the splits does in ours.

Scott Hartman
Science Director
Wyoming Dinosaur Center
110 Carter Ranch Rd.
Thermopolis, WY 82443
(800) 455-3466 ext. 230
Cell: (307) 921-8333