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Raptor Claws and Killing Techniques (was kickboxing Cassowary)





    Ever since the "experiment" shown on the 'Truth About Killer Dinosaurs', 
there seems to be a lot skepticism regarding the lethality and effectiveness of 
dromaeosaurid weaponry. This trend reminds me somewhat of the "T-rex: Scavenger 
or Hunter" debate. I think dromaeosaurids would have been perfectly capable of 
bringing down both large and small prey, and I think they had variety of ways 
in which they could have done it. 

   A single Dromaeosaurid may have brought down prey of equal or slightly 
greater size by using ambush. A "raptor" may have tripped its prey by using its 
long fingers and hooked claws to grasp the tail or legs. Once the prey was 
tackled it may have gripped the body with its jaws and and fore claws while 
using the killing claws to stab or slash the belly, much in the same way a 
house cat will kick with its hind claws while gripping with its teeth and fore 
claws. A fatal stab could have been achieved by piercing the spaces between the 
ribs, The killing claw was probably long enough to pierce a lung. If it was 
not, the claw tip (just the tip) could have been raked repeatedly in the same 
cut like a pickaxe, making the wound deeper and wider until a vital organ was 
reached. If a lung was pierced, the prey would not have been able to run for 
long if it got away, as it probably would have begun to drown in its own blood. 
If the tackle ended with the predator and prey "face to face" the
 throat may have been gripped by the jaws, while the hands gripped the torso; 
from there the raptor could have laid on its side while piercing or raking the 
exposed belly with its toe claws.


 A pack of dromaeosaurids may have been able to bring down large ornithopods by 
leaping onto their back, as is usually shown in popular depictions; once there, 
the dromaeosaurids could have raked their claw tips repeatedly in the same 
gash. Initially, the cuts would've only been relatively deep "scratches", but 
repeated cuts in the same wound would have made it deeper and wider. The wound 
would likely have opened up twice as wide as it was deep, making it 
increasingly easier to place the claw in the same gash/cut. If the belly was 
targeted, the abdominal wall would eventually rupture, and the great weight of 
the intestines would have probably caused them to spill out. The raptors may 
continued to pull the guts out of the prey using their hooked toe claws, 
resulting in a pretty painful and gory death for the prey animal. The Cape 
hunting dogs of Africa kill large and dangerous prey by disemboweling them, so 
it is quite possible that the dromaeosaurids did the same, but in a more
 sophisticated and effective way. It is also worth noting, that cape hunting 
dogs actually kill their prey with disembowelment faster than large cats can 
kill with suffocation.


Here are some interesting videos relating to some of the point made by others 
earlier in the thread.

Eagle killing goats http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VklTs-Tid_I&feature=related

cape hunting dogs http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdIrXt5ZLZg