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RE: Kickboxing Cassowary



Quoting Sim Koning <simkoning@msn.com>:

>  I've had training with edged weapons, like knives and swords, so I just
> wanted to comment briefly on this issue. Mechanical "simulations" aside, I
> think the enlarged pedal claw seen in "velociraptorine" dromaeosaurids would
> have been far more versatile than most think. The claw is long enough for a
> simple stab to have been fatal to most human sized animals.

Agreed. Several animals all 'taking a stab' from different directions at once 
would have been 
formidable indeed. 

The advantage of a quick stabbing attack is that it can be followed by a quick 
retreat. Add venom 
glands at the base of the toe claws (platypus evolved them on their leg spurs, 
so anything's 
possible), and a dromaeosaur could have behaved like bipedal feathery viper. 
Now *that's* a 
terrifying concept!

> The claw could have been raked
> repeatadly in the same wound, eventually rapturing the abdominal wall, which
> would have spilled the intestines, or all over the body to cause blood loss.

Given the number of dinosaurian lineages that appear to have had gastralia, 
disembowling may not 
have been as simple as it is with us mammals and our powder-puff bellies.

> This is analogous to some knife fighting techniques, where you either use the
> edge to creat shallow, but painful and bloody cuts, or you can stab in hopes
> of puncturing an internal organ. So as long as it had some kind of cutting
> edge, I think they could have used their claws for both slashing or stabbing;
> the slashes just wouldn't have been as dramatic as many used to think. 

If only the sharp tip was doing the tearing, then a sharpened inner edge 
wouldn't have been all 
that necessary. As you pointed out, any blade buried deep inside something is 
difficult to cut with. 
A sharp inner edge on a dromaesaur 'sickle' claw might only be useful in 
harvesting grain. :)

> When I
> consider all this, dromaeosaurids are horrifying to imagine. A raptor like
> Deinonychus would have easily been able to gut a human with a single kick, or
> pin a man down while peircing its claws through the rib cage and into the
> lungs... ouch.

Since ostriches are said to be able to disembowel humans (apparently in the 
most fortuitously 
aimed kicks), the human disembowling abilities of a Deinonychus are probably 
beyond doubt - 
once you allow for time travel or genetic re-engineering that is. 

If I was a homocidal Deinonychus, I might try a debilitating kick to the 
stomach or a slash at the 
legs (neither immediately fatal), and once the human fell, finished them off 
with a good deep 
puncture to the throat. Not that I've put that much thought into it, mind you...

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