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Palaeontology

Did T. rex use its tiny arms to slash prey ?

November 5, 2017 | Comment icon 14 comments



What did T. rex use its tiny arms for ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 David Monniaux
One palaeontologist has suggested that Tyrannosaurus rex may have used its arms as vicious weapons.
It was one of the most ferocious predators ever to walk the face of the Earth and while there is no denying the destructive power of its massive razor-sharp teeth, the exact function of its comically tiny arms has long remained a topic of heated debate among scientists.

Some have suggested that its arms were used to help it mount other dinosaurs while mating or to grab hold of the carcasses of its victims so that it could more easily rip off chunks of flesh.

According to palaeontologist Steven Stanley from the University of Hawaii however, the arms of a Tyrannosaurus rex may have themselves served as vicious weapons to help take down prey.
"Its short, strong forelimbs and large claws would have permitted T. rex, whether mounted on a victim's back or grasping it with its jaws, to inflict four gashes a meter or more long and several centimeters deep within a few seconds," he said.

"And it could have repeated this multiple times in rapid succession."

Whether its arms would have been long enough to reach its target however remains unclear.

Source: Tech Times | Comments (14)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #5 Posted by Carnoferox 5 years ago
That's an absurd notion considering the number of fairly complete and articulated skeletons that have been found. Not only did Tyrannosaurus have reduced forelimbs, but so did all other tyrannosaurids including Tarbosaurus, Daspletosaurus, Albertosaurus, and Gorgosaurus.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Kenemet 5 years ago
We found the arms.  They're not hands.  You can tell the difference.  Really.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Kenemet 5 years ago
I think the rest of the paleontologists believe this is not workable.  The arms are tiny and short, and so are the fingers (they had only two fingers) and claws. 
Comment icon #8 Posted by Carnoferox 5 years ago
As of now it's only an abstract, so we just have to wait for the full paper and hopefully a biomechanical analysis.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Ryu 5 years ago
Sorry that  I offended you with my 'absurd' notion, I was under the mistaken impression that we were having a civilized discussion.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Twin 5 years ago
I think they used them to pick their teeth.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Carnoferox 5 years ago
I didn't mean to get off on the wrong foot, but Tyrannosaurus rex is known from so much complete and articulated material that it is indeed absurd to say that its skeleton has been reconstructed completely wrong or that the arms don't belong to that species.
Comment icon #12 Posted by Tatetopa 5 years ago
I believe that most species that evolve and remain in existence for millions of years come up with pretty workable body plans.   Tyrannosaurids persisted for quite a long time through a number of species.  We think the arms are "absurd"  because we don't understand how they were used in life.  The various species do not seem to be hampered by the lack of large forelimbs. I think humans are especially prone to think of our arms and hands as indispensable.   They are to us, but not to other body plans.   Carnoferox or Kenemet, weren't the arms about the length of human arms but more robustly bui... [More]
Comment icon #13 Posted by Carnoferox 5 years ago
Sue's arms are about the same length as a human's and she's a 40 foot-long adult. You are correct that tyrannosaurid arms are much more robust than those of humans. However, juvenile tyrannosaurids don't show any significant difference in forelimb proportions. A picture of Sue's right humerus from Brochu (2003), with the scale bar being 5 cm:
Comment icon #14 Posted by Tatetopa 5 years ago
Thanks for that!


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