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Re: Dilophosaurus Forelimb Bone Maladies




> On Feb 25, 2016, at 8:00 PM, Dann Pigdon <dannj@alphalink.com.au> wrote:
> 
> 
>> The authors propose that during the long healing period, the use of
>> the forelimbs by this smashed-up _Dilophosaurus_  was severely
>> compromised.  But it wasn't fatal.  This supports the interpretation
>> that theropod forelimbs were not all that useful for predation - even
>> when the forelimbs were healthy and undamaged.  Although often quite
>> strong and/or robust, theropod forelimbs had limited reach and the
>> manus often had fairly mediocre grasping abilities...
> 
> The forelimbs of Dilophosaurus would seem to have been better suited for use 
> in predation than their fragile-looking skulls and head crests.

Except that, as in the vast majority of theropods, Dilophosaurus couldn’t get 
its hands anywhere near its mouth (nor, likely, anywhere it could even see them 
clearly). Despite being lightly built, the skulls and jaws of Dilophosaurus 
would have been more than sufficient to eat what the vast majority of 
terrestrial predators eat: juvenile prey much smaller than themselves.

I’m with Tim Williams on this one: I am highly skeptical that any theropods, 
even the comparatively long-armed ones, used their forelimbs extensively during 
predation. (And yes, I realize that this usually raises a chorus of “but there 
are big claws on the hands!” - that doesn’t mean they were used to catch things 
to eat).

Cheers,

—MBH


Michael Habib, MS, PhD
Assistant Professor, Cell and Neurobiology
Keck School of Medicine of USC
University of Southern California
Bishop Research Building; Room 403
1333 San Pablo Street, Los Angeles 90089-9112

Research Associate, Dinosaur Institute
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
900 Exposition Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90007

biologyinmotion@gmail.com
(443) 280-0181