A new idea for what Velociraptors did with those claws

Revisiting a 9-year-old post, inspired by a photo of a Wedge-tailed Eagle with truly massive talons on its 2nd digits!

The Waterthrush Blog

By now, we’re all familiar with this image: Velociraptors running at high speed toward a big lumbering dinosaur that the little demons subdue with an onslaught of murderous slashes from an outsized claw on their second toe. Mark Stevenson’s reproduction below is a vivid attempt to bring one of these battles to life.

This model by artist Charlie McGrady illustrates the unique foot structure of this group of dinosaurs. The first toe has moved back, and toes 2, 3, and 4 point forward. It’s that second digit (the “inside toe”) that has been greatly enlarged to support that famous sickle-shaped claw that we’re now so used to seeing elevated when the animal runs and swiped down to cut a huge slash in attack mode.

That basic toe structure is represented in modern birds. In a perching bird’s anisodactyl foot, digit 1 is moved to the rear, while digits 2–4 face…

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