STL Science Center

STL Science Center

03 August 2016

Long Claws

Dromaeosaurs have long claws on their feet that were used to pin down, slash at, and otherwise disable their prey. Megaraptor is thought to have had that type of claw on its hand rather than its foot. Placing the claw on the hand rather than the foot was not a judgement call. Rather, the claw was placed with the hand because the fossil was oriented in such a way that the claw appears to belong to the hand rather than the foot. Assuming that the placement is correct (multiple specimens appear to validate this) possessing an enormous claw on the hand is not novel in dinosaurs. Iguanodon, Baryonyx, and the therizinosaurs all possessed large claws on their hands prior to Megaraptor. The large hand claw is unique in that it is relatively enormous compared to its neighbors and appears to be poised for strikes like those of the foot claws of dromaeosaurs. The idea that Megaraptors used their hands like dromaeosaurs used their feet makes them much more frightening, as the hands were probably much more dexterous than the feet of the other raptors. A dexterous, murderous, giant claw on a large powerful predator may have led to one of the most frightening, but lesser known, dinosaurs ever on the planet.

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