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Re: Velociraptor scavenged azhdarchid pterosaur

Dann Pigdon <dannj@alphalink.com.au> wrote:

> Protoceratops is sometimes known as 'the sheep of the Cretaceous', but 
> perhaps they were more
> like Cretaceous suids? It's a pity that stomach contents haven't been found 
> for them (as far as I'm
> aware).

Even allowing for the possibility that _Protoceratops_ might have
dabbled in carnivory (i.e., been omnivorous to some degree), this is
far removed from the contention that _Protoceratops_ actually targeted
the _Velociraptor_ as prey.  This seems to be drawing a fairly long
bow, ecomorphologically speaking.

_Velociraptor_ forelimbs were poorly adapted for grasping or
manipulating small prey.  Either _Velociraptor_'s forelimbs were
adapted for grasping large prey with both hands; or they were not used
to grasp prey at all (unlikely in my view).  Add to this the recent
studies which suggest that the sickle-claws were specialized for
climbing prey, or gripping and pinning down prey from above.  Either
way, _Velociraptor_ preferred prey of comparable or larger size.  So
the hypothesis that the "fighting dinosaurs" was a consequence of
_Velociraptor_ attacking _Protoceratops_ (rather than the other way
round) seems to be the most parsimonious explanation, by far.