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Re: Science feather strength debate

Thomas Holtz  <tholtz@geol.umd.edu> wrote:

> Let us not forget that the fighting dinosaur specimen of Velociraptor is
> actually grasping something (the frill of the Protoceratops) with its left
> hand.

Yes, exactly.  I don't think there's any doubt that large dromaeosaurs
like _Velociraptor_ and _Deinonychus_ were capable of grasping large
prey.  It could even be said that this was their raison d'etre.

For smaller deinonychosaurs (including microraptorines) and basal
birds, the lack of prehensile ability in the manus implied by the long
stiff fingers is weird... because other features (broad wings;
phalangeal proportions; longer and more distal hallux) suggest that
these critters were at least partly arboreal.  Although _Bambiraptor_
has been reconstructed as having an opposable manus, it does appear to
have been exceptional among theropods in this regard.