Advertisement.

EnchantedLearning.com is a user-supported site.
As a bonus, site members have access to a banner-ad-free version of the site, with print-friendly pages.
Click here to learn more.

ad
(Already a member? Click here.)



ZoomDinosaurs.com
CoolDino.com: Dinosaur Forums
VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE DINOSAUR DINO TALK:
A Dinosaur Forum
DINO SCIENCE FORUM DINO PICTURES/FICTION:
Post Your Dinosaur Pictures or Stories
The Test of Time
A Novel by I. MacPenn


Dr. Tom Holtz and Dr. Michael K. Brett-Surman
answer dinosaur questions for the readers of ZoomDinosaurs.com
:



I find the subject of raptors intriguing, but I do have a question. Since the raptors were bipedial and relatively lightly-built, their back legs would have been essential to their survival. Almost any injury to such important structures would have been rapidly fatal to a creature relying on pursuit speed and kicking power. And wouldn't kicking a large and angry herbivore that basically consists of thick skin over huge muscles, ribs, pelvic bones, scutes, shields and flailing limbs that would have made vital organs difficult targets risky? Aside from the likely humiliation of breaking a nail, they would have been at high risk for shattering a leg trying such tactics, and that would have made them losers in Darwin's evolutionary derby. Perhaps that is why they had all but vanished by the mid-Cretaceous, giving way to the smash-mouth hunting tactics of the Tyrannosaurs?

Is it more likely that Raptors mostly used their razor-like teeth on smaller prey. If they did use claws, it was probably the impressive armament on their forelimbs which would have been much easier to control and less risky to survival if injured? If so, would the sickle claws be used only as a display structure (like a rooster) or a weapon evolved mainly for defense like the large slashing claw on the cassowary? These birds are incredibly dangerous when trapped in close quarters although they are more likely to run away than take chances with their valuable legs in a battle. It makes sense to risk an incapacitating injury only if the alternative is being eaten. The fossil of the Velociraptor vs. Protoceratops seems to elude towards the raptors using these claws for defense. If this is the case, prehaps the raptors may not have been as deadly as they are commonly shown, though they would have been deadly enough. But I find the idea of 1-ton Utahraptors leaping onto a sauropod to dispatch it extremely risky for the raptors, despite the birth rate! Could there be any fossil evidence to show conclusively that the raptors used their claws for hunting (like we have conclusive evidence of Tyrannosaurs hunting)?
from Leonard, age 14, ?, ?, ?; July 28, 2001

TOM: It is unlikely that a dromaeosaur could rip open the belly of a plant eater with a single kick, for the reasons you say. It is more likely that they used a combination of attacks: biting, arm claws, and foot claws.


Back to the Holtz and Brett-Surman Questions

Enchanted Learning®
Over 35,000 Web Pages
Sample Pages for Prospective Subscribers, or click below

Overview of Site
What's New
Enchanted Learning Home
Monthly Activity Calendar
Books to Print
Site Index

K-3
Crafts
K-3 Themes
Little Explorers
Picture dictionary
PreK/K Activities
Rebus Rhymes
Stories
Writing
Cloze Activities
Essay Topics
Newspaper
Writing Activities
Parts of Speech

Fiction
The Test of Time
iPhone app
TapQuiz Maps - free iPhone Geography Game

Biology
Animal Printouts
Biology Label Printouts
Biomes
Birds
Butterflies
Dinosaurs
Food Chain
Human Anatomy
Mammals
Plants
Rainforests
Sharks
Whales
Physical Sciences: K-12
Astronomy
The Earth
Geology
Hurricanes
Landforms
Oceans
Tsunami
Volcano
Languages
Dutch
French
German
Italian
Japanese (Romaji)
Portuguese
Spanish
Swedish
Geography/History
Explorers
Flags
Geography
Inventors
US History

Other Topics
Art and Artists
Calendars
College Finder
Crafts
Graphic Organizers
Label Me! Printouts
Math
Music
Word Wheels

Click to read our Privacy Policy

E-mail


Enchanted Learning Search

Search the Enchanted Learning website for:



Advertisement.



Advertisement.



Advertisement.



Copyright ©2001-2018 EnchantedLearning.com ------ How to cite a web page