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Re: Velociraptor scavenged azhdarchid pterosaur

Glad you like the claws2 paper. :D

From: David Marjanovic <david.marjanovic@gmx.at>
>-- On the topic of predators attacking large prey, flight give big eagles a 
>great advantage when it comes to attacking _very_ large prey like reindeer or 
>young cattle: the force of impact can drive their claws into the prey's 
>braincase, killing it. (Peregrine falcons similarly kill pigeons by the force 
>of impact, which happens at 80 km/h.) The only reason eagles don't do this 
>more often is that they can't fly away with large prey, they'd have to eat it 
>on the spot and expose themselves to larger predators/competitors. 
>*Harpagornis* was the exception that proved the rule. (And, moa braincases 
>being too small, it seems to have pierced the pelvis and damaged the kidneys 

Flight does make it easier for modern raptors to get up on top of exceptionally 
large prey, but a dromaeosaur could still jump up there, maybe flap a bit. 
Anyway, eagles/hawks don't always strike down onto prey to smash its brains in 
(although this does happen; see refs & discussion in Fowler et al, 2011b); they 
also "prey ride", latching in their claws and just hang on while the prey moves 
about, somewhat annoyed, and deepening the wounds. We note that this is a 
viable strategy for dromaeosaurs, and that it is not completely at odds with 
the climbing crampon hypothesis.

>-- ...What are the PLoS people thinking? Why does an online-only journal 
>differentiate between main text and supplementary text -- the latter of which 
>is only provided in the MS Word format it was submitted in?!? I mean, I have 
>Word, so I've read the delicious trouncing of the "climbing crampon" paper and 
>all the other hidden goodness, but in principle this arrangement strikes me as 
>stupid. There are no length restrictions! There is no paper to run out of!

This was my choice really, not the PLoS editors'. The original MS was very 
short format with about 10,000 words in the supp. I transferred most of the 
"meat" into the main MS, but things like t
l comments, notes on Seriema, etc, didn't seem to fit anywhere obvious in the 
main MS narrative, at least without breaking up the order of foot proportion 
function, running vs grasping prey vs perching, through flapping origins. 
People have said that with a bit more work the individual parts of the supp 
info could have been made into separate mini-papers.. which might be true but I 
have enough other projects that are currently taking up my time. What I like 
about supp info is that you can put in little tidbit observations and comments 
in a kind of disjointed fashion, giving the interested reader a bit more to 
chew on. This said, I am trying to keep supp down to a minimum in my newer MSs, 
since noone really seems to read supp.


PS. Note that Horner Paleo Lab is now on Facebook (see link below). we try to 
put up images of new specimens, papers when they come out etc. Something like a 
new image or two per week.

Denver Fowler