Honors Projects


This paper seeks to show for what purpose deinonychosaurs used their feet. Fowler et al., (2011) showed that D. antirrhopus’s feet were closest in function to accipitrids, as they found it was more built for grasping prey than running.

I answered this question by using 2D images of the feet of three modern birds (Buteo jamaicensis, Phasianus colchicus, and Gallus gallus domesticus), one eudromaeosaur (Deinonychus antirrhopus), and one troodontid (Borogovia gracilicrus). I used ImageJ to apply 73 landmarks to each foot, capturing the variation between species in the metatarsals and pedal phalanges. These data were then uploaded to the software environment R. Using the geomorph package, I applied Procrustes analysis to the specimens, eliminating size and directional orientation as variables. I then created a morphospace, lollipop diagrams, and deformation grids to analyze the variation between species.

I found that both deinonychosaurs had adaptations for running, and D. antirrhopus had more adaptations for grasping prey in its feet than B. gracilicrus. This research shows that deinonychosaurs may have been more adept at running than previously thought.


Honors Program


Geology: Paleobiology

First Advisor

Dr. Margaret Mary Yacobucci

First Advisor Department


Second Advisor

Dr. Verner Bingman

Publication Date

Fall 12-5-2022