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Re: Kickboxing Cassowary
> 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
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
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
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.
GIS / Archaeologist http://geo_cities.com/dannsdinosaurs
Melbourne, Australia http://heretichides.soffiles.com