Dinosaur killer claws or climbing crampons?

Phillip L Manning, David Payne, John Pennicott, Paul M Barrett, Roland A Ennos

Abstract

Dromaeosaurid theropod dinosaurs possess a strongly recurved, hypertrophied and hyperextensible ungual claw on pedal digit II. This feature is usually suggested to have functioned as a device for disembowelling herbivorous dinosaurs during predation. However, modelling of dromaeosaurid hindlimb function using a robotic model and comparison of pedal ungual morphology with extant analogue taxa both indicate that this distinctive claw did not function as a slashing weapon, but may have acted as an aid to prey capture.

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Footnotes

    • Received July 27, 2005.
    • Accepted September 5, 2005.
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