Despite their haunting portrayals in the Jurassic Park movie franchise, velociraptor dinosaurs likely used their sharp claws to nibble and grasp their prey, not cut it, according to a new study.
Research published earlier this month, Journal of the Arizona-Nevada Academy of Sciences, velociraptor observed the modern-day red-footed seriema, a predatory South American bird with a sharp, curved claw similar to the “predator” group of dinosaurs, including deinonychus., and utahraptor.
Tracking and preying on small mammals, reptiles, amphibians and insects, this bird is unique in that it has distinctive “curved sickle claws” on its second pedal treads held high above the ground, similar to the claws of extinct deinonychosaurs. A team of scientists, including those from Brigham Young University in the USA.
Scientists hypothesize that instead of using their claws as cutting weapons, deinonychosaurs used their claws for stabilizing and grasping.
The scientists say their observations of claw use in red-legged arrays are consistent with what they call the Raptor Prey Restraint (RPR) hypothesis.
They say that because of the high degree of similarity between the claws of seriemas and the claws of deinonychosaurs, and their common ancestors and similar predatory lifestyles, seriemas are likely to be among the “best proxies” for predatory dinosaurs’ claw use. .
“This claw wasn’t built to cut to interpret a song with boots, it was doing something else,” study co-author Brian Curtice told Live Science.
Scientists argue that these dinosaurs’ curved claws didn’t even have serrations or a “cutting surface” to help cut through the flesh of their prey, as demonstrated at Jurrasic Park, where these dinosaurs took even larger animals to cut their claws.
The study also analyzed the feeding behavior of red-legged seriemas at the Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium, and Safari Park in Phoenix.
The birds, which were about 90 cm (3 ft) tall and weighed about 2 kg (4 lb), jumped on a rubber snake in the study and struck a rock to try to kill it.
He used his sharp claw to pin it to the ground as he tore the snake with his beak.
They also exhibited the same attachment and grasping abilities on dead rats in their natural feeding behavior.
While birds aren’t “perfect” analogues of predatory dinosaurs, and there may still be anatomical differences between the two that could change the way claws work, the researchers say dinosaurs used their claws in similar ways.
“So the way seriema used their claws has the potential to shed additional light on how deinonychosaurs used their claws,” the researchers said in the study.