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Re: Deinocheirus (was Sauropodz r kewl WAS: silly conversation on 2012 US presidential race)
NICE! BTW I am back from surgery that I had on Thurs. I had a catheter removed
today... :-( but I'm on the road to recovery.
PS.: Where is the type specimen of Deinocheirus currently at?
From: "Tim Williams" <email@example.com>
Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2012 10:04:59 PM
Subject: Re: Deinocheirus (was Sauropodz r kewl WAS: silly conversation on 2012
US presidential race)
Thomas R. Holtz, Jr. <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> Having held the claws (well, casts) of Deinocheirus, they are bigass, but
> they aren't really fearsome. Now a Torvosaurus or
> spinosaurid or megaraptoran claw: THOSE are scary nasty!
Nevertheless, the claws of _Deinocheirus_ could have been a wicked
deterrent against a predator approaching too closely.
> (I'm quite fond of making the therizinosaur-ground sloth analogy, and before
> me Russell & Russell did the therizinosaur-chalicothere
> analogy. Hard to disprove, as we can't directly observe the behavior of
> either member of the pair... :-S
I had reasoned that the hand-claws of therizinosaurs (at least in the
more derived species) were used predominantly for defense. After all,
it's not like these pot-bellied theropods could run from danger. And
especially in _Therizinosaurus_ the claws do not seem to be the right
shape for grasping or hooking branches. I like Robert's description
of them as "freddy-kruger hands".
The forelimbs of _Deinocheirus_ and _Gigantoraptor_ might have been
used in the same way - as defensive weapons. In the transition from
carnivory to herbivory it might have been useful to retain long,
clawed forelimbs for defense. Though _Gigantoraptor_ was fairly
cursorial for its size, and the same might have been true for
_Deinocheirus_ if it arose from ornithomimosaur stock. But the larger
therizinosaurs probably had no choice but to hold their ground.