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T. rex's fancy footwork owed to special ligaments, study finds

Still Waters

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Posted (IP: Staff) ·

How did Tyrannosaurus rex catch its food? Looking at T. rex's fossilized skull, the answer may seem obvious: monstrous jaws and sharp teeth capable of delivering a multi-ton bite force.

But tyrannosaurs did more than just use their heads to snag prey, according to a team of researchers including University of Maryland vertebrate paleontologist Thomas R. Holtz Jr. Their study, published this week in Vertebrate Anatomy Morphology Palaeontology, revealed that tyrannosaurs had unique ligaments that supercharged their feet, allowing them to move swiftly across vast distances.

"People have long been attracted to the awesome power and ridiculously small arms of Tyrannosaurus rex and its kin, but the legs—and especially the feet—of the tyrant dinosaurs were also highly specialized," said Holtz, a principal lecturer in UMD's Department of Geology. "This new study helps to show that even on a microscopic level, tyrannosaurs were adapted for both long-distance running and rapid acceleration."



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