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Raptor Claws Give Dino Clues

Comments



  • I am really surprised that it has taken this long for a large study to get done on this.

    As someone with a keen interest in birds, and who has a nesting pair of sparrowhawks that breed most years within eyeshot of his bedroom window, I would have thought that raptors would have been an obvious choice for study a long time ago.

    Sparrowhawks hunting are fascinating to watch, as they use many different techniques, but mainly rely on being able to ambush their prey.

    One interesting thing about sparrowhawks is that they are equally at home hunting on foot as they are at doing it while in flight.

    They will literally chase down birds that are trying to hide at ground level and grab them with their talons.

    Watching a sparrowhawk that is sprinting at full pace on the ground is very similar in posture to how many of theropods are thought to have run.

    I am personally of the opinion that birds are not studied enough in terms of using the studies to try and compare with what we know of dinos.


    As an aside, the article has credited the wrong bird with owning that talon.

    All true goshawks, both from Europe and America/Canada etc have bright yellow talons.




  • Kess73 wrote: »
    One interesting thing about sparrowhawks is that they are equally at home hunting on foot as they are at doing it while in flight.

    They will literally chase down birds that are trying to hide at ground level and grab them with their talons.

    Watching a sparrowhawk that is sprinting at full pace on the ground is very similar in posture to how many of theropods are thought to have run.

    There are several modern birds of prey which do this. For instance the caracara and secretary bird can fly, but prefer to hunt on foot, sporting great strenght, speed and agility.
    Similarly, modrern day road runners, and seriemas are all fast ground based hunters which have been studied in depth in order to reconstruct the hunting methods of the prehistoric 'terror birds' (or phorusrhacidae).
    In fact, popular restorations of phorusrhacids often show them sporting similar plumage to secretary birds.
    26365-004-E2773D48.jpg
    (Secretary bird)
    great-ancient-strange-animals-9-Phorusrhacos.jpg
    (Phorusrhacos as depicted in Walking With Beasts)

    As you said, it does make you wonder why simlar research in relation to dinosaurs is not as common.

    Kess73 wrote:
    As an aside, the article has credited the wrong bird with owning that talon.

    All true goshawks, both from Europe and America/Canada etc have bright yellow talons.

    What!?!? Damn Nat Geo, making me look bad...




  • Galvasean wrote: »
    There are several modern birds of prey which do this. For instance the caracara and secretary bird can fly, but prefer to hunt on foot, sporting great strenght, speed and agility.
    Similarly, modrern day road runners, and seriemas are all fast ground based hunters which have been studied in depth in order to reconstruct the hunting methods of the prehistoric 'terror birds' (or phorusrhacidae).
    In fact, popular restorations of phorusrhacids often show them sporting similar plumage to secretary birds.
    26365-004-E2773D48.jpg
    (Secretary bird)
    great-ancient-strange-animals-9-Phorusrhacos.jpg
    (Phorusrhacos as depicted in Walking With Beasts)

    As you said, it does make you wonder why simlar research in relation to dinosaurs is not as common.




    What!?!? Damn Nat Geo, making me look bad...


    Don't worry, Nat Geo was not needed. :p



    Yeah there are plenty of modern day birds that are great ground hunters. I chose the sparrowhawk because I am very familiar with watching them hunt, plus they are a bird that any of us in Ireland could watch, whereas other birds that readily ground hunt are not available to us.


    You do seem to have quite the soft spot for the terror birds.

    Did you ever track down a copy of The Flock? It is an alright read, but nowhere near as good at Fatalis, which has sabre tooth cats in it.




  • Kess73 wrote: »
    Yeah there are plenty of modern day birds that are great ground hunters. I chose the sparrowhawk because I am very familiar with watching them hunt, plus they are a bird that any of us in Ireland could watch, whereas other birds that readily ground hunt are not available to us.

    They occasionaly show up in my area. Unfotunately I've never witnessed a ground hunt.
    Kess73 wrote: »
    You do seem to have quite the soft spot for the terror birds.

    Who in the right mind doesn't????
    Kess73 wrote:
    Did you ever track down a copy of The Flock? It is an alright read, but nowhere near as good at Fatalis, which has sabre tooth cats in it.

    Nope, not yet.

    Speaking of ground based hunting birds, I recall in an episode of The Future Is Wild, there was a creature called a 'Carakiller', which was supposed to be a future relative of the modern caracara. Looked a heck of a lot like Titanis walleri.




  • Hmmm they look very similar indeed.




    I just had a quick look on Amazon.co.uk and found a few copies of The Flock for sale.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_ss_1_8?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=the+flock+james+robert+smith&sprefix=the+floc


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