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Re: Microraptor hanqingi, new species from China.

David Marjanovic <david.marjanovic@gmx.at> wrote:

> And indeed, he didn't send that message to the list (or at least I never got
> it). Tim, be ashamed, you made the mistake I just made four hours earlier.
> List administrators, please consider deleting Tim's post.

No need to worry.  It was meant for everyone.

> However, now that I've seen what's going on, I find my mind entirely
> unblown, because I must immediately ask (as Tim did) if there's a clear way
> to distinguish branch-grasping from prey-grasping adaptations. How important
> is branch-grasping to secretarybirds and, I suppose, seriemas? Do they just
> occasionally do it because they can, or do they use it to enhance their
> reproductive success one way or another? -- Wikipedia says secretarybirds
> nest "at a height of 5 -- 7 m" "in *Acacia* trees", so that answers that
> question for one of them; *Cariama cristata* nests "on the ground or in a
> bush or tree up to 3 m above the ground"; *Chunga burmeisteri* has a very
> short article that doesn't mention nesting. So, there may not be a bird
> today that uses its feet to grasp prey but not branches, which would leave
> you without anything to test your hypothesis against.

To complicate things further, if deinonychosaurs used their feet for
grasping (as proposed by the Raptor Prey Restraint hypothesis) , then
would we be able to distinguish trunk-climbing adaptations from
predatory ones?

In other words, would adaptations used by _Deinonychus_ to grasp and
hold onto large prey be that much different to adaptations used by
_Microraptor_ to scale a thick trunk?  I'm not saying that
_Microraptor_ DID climb up trunks.  But IF it did....would we know
from the morphology of the pes?