comScore Scientists Discover Purpose of Velociraptor Claws | The Mary Sue

Dinosaur Stubs Toe, Provides Scientific Breakthrough 65 Million Years Later

hold on to your butts

Did you know that Jurassic Park lied to us about Velociraptors? I mean, not only are they actually the size of goose (Deinonychus is the one who was human-sized), no one really knows whether they used the large talon prominently in residence on each foot for hunting. It might have been for threat displays, or mating dances, and just about the only thing you could say about it realistically was that Velociraptors might have used it to spill your intestines and eat you while you were alive. If you stopped punting them away and laid down for easy access.

But don’t breathe a sigh of relief too quickly, raptorphobes. Science may have retroactively restored the truth of at least one assumption Jurassic Park made about two-legged carnivorous dinosaurs, or theropods.

The recently discovered species Talos sampsoni isn’t just a theropod, it’s a feathered theropod, and the specific specimen that paleontologists have uncovered has an unusual and rare feature. It is injured. According to Lindsey Zanno, lead author of T sampsoni‘s classification,

When we realized we had evidence of an injury, the excitement was palpable. An injured specimen has a story to tell…

People have speculated that the talon on the foot of raptor dinosaurs was used to capture prey, fight with other members of the same species, or defend the animal against attack. Our interpretation supports the idea that these animals regularly put this toe in harm’s way.

Our data support the idea that the talon of raptor dinosaurs…was an instrument meant for inflicting damage.

Our mental image of putting toes in harms way involves chair legs and door frames, but somehow we get the sense that there weren’t too many of those that were contemporary with T. sampsoni.

Which means they are the perfect defense.

(via io9.)

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Susana Polo thought she'd get her Creative Writing degree from Oberlin, work a crap job, and fake it until she made it into comics. Instead she stumbled into a great job: founding and running this very website (she's Editor at Large now, very fancy). She's spoken at events like Geek Girl Con, New York Comic Con, and Comic Book City Con, wants to get a Batwoman tattoo and write a graphic novel, and one of her canine teeth is in backwards.