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Re: Kickboxing Cassowary

Quoting dinoboygraphics@aol.com:

> So for those of you who are happy to throw out the idea of dromaeosaurs 
> "slashing" at their prey...why can a blunt-tipped claw like a cassowary 
> #2 pedal claw disembowel animals, and are the attacks described as 
> slashing?

More 'hacking' than 'slashing', and certainly not 'slicing'. Ratites and 
kangaroos can inflict serious 
injuries with their relatively blunt toe claws, but more through the shear 
strength of the blow rather 
than blade-like slicing.

> And  given that, what precisely would prevent the much more blade-like 
> dromaeosaur claws from being as (if not substantially more) effective?

The strength of the claw, for one thing. A big chunky blunt claw can withstand 
more punishment. 
Narrow blade-like claws with tapered points don't stand up to punishment nearly 
as much. It's like 
trying to cut down a tree with either an axe or a hunting knife. Even a 
relatively blunt axe will do a 
better job, given that the knife blade wouldn't last very long.

That's not to say that I don't think dromaeosaurs were capable of inflicting 
serious injuries with 
their toe claws, but rather I have a hard time imagining them slicing through 
flesh like a hot knife 
through butter. Penetrating wounds certainly, using the sharp tip to make 
shallower raking wounds 
probably, but I doubt dromaeosaurs went around recklessly power-kicking like a 
cassowary or a 
kangaroo. Those toe claws look more like precision instruments to me.

> Now, granted that on-line discussions may not adhere to the strictest 
> of medical standards, but people are claiming on the list (with 
> apparent seriousness) that keratin cannot maintain a sharp edge, when 
> every beak in existence that can cut through flesh derives that edge 
> from...keratin.

You don't need a sharpened edge to tear through flesh if you've got a sharp 
hooked point. The 
claws of a cat don't have a sharpened edge, yet the narrow tips are quite 
capable of rending flesh. 
I can guarantee you that no naturally occuring keratin edge in existence has a 
sharply honed edge 
capable of *slicing* flesh. There's a difference between 'slicing' and 
'slashing' - one requires a well-
honed edge, while the other can be accomplished with a hooked point.


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