Teeth of a plant eater, claws of a meat eater

A most interesting fossil – Nothronychus graffami – has been found in Utah. Four metres tall, huge belly, small head, herbivorous teeth. 22 cm sickle-shaped claws. Odd coupling, wouldn’t you say? For what on earth does a leaf-eater need claws of such gigantic dimensions? Scientists have no idea. I mean, they do have some ideas, what they are in want of is evidence. Sure enough, the claws might have been great assistance in pulling down branches. They could just as likely have used them to deter predators. They might have had some reproductive advantage.

But really, all these fine hypotheses belong in the business of guesswork. Such great findings have the effect of disenchantment, and make one realize how little we know of the world around us.

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