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Velociraptor’s killing claws were for climbing

Palaeontologists who have studied the biomechanics of Velociraptor claws say they were used to cling to prey and climb trees.

Phil Manning of the University of Manchester, UK, and colleagues previously showed that Velociraptor’s sharp-tipped foot claw could puncture skin and help the dinosaur cling to wounded prey but was not sharp enough to rip the skin open. Now an analysis of the biomechanics of the hand claw suggests it could have supported the dinosaur’s weight when it was climbing.

Manning suggests Velociraptor used its climbing ability to perch in trees and pounce on prey from above, with its claws puncturing the skin so it could cling to its victim’s body while biting and subduing it.

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