Tyrannosaurus rex wagged its tail when running
By T.K. Randall
September 23, 2021 · 4 comments
Dinosaur tails did more than act as a counterweight. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 David Monniaux
Even the fiercest dinosaurs may have wagged their tails back and forth when running and walking.
The very idea of a 40ft long, 7-ton carnivorous reptile running along with its tail wagging enthusiastically like a dog with a bone might seem ridiculous, but according to a new study, dinosaurs did in fact wag their tails when moving around - though not for the same reason as dogs.
Most dinosaur species had considerably long tails that were quite unlike anything seen today, making comparisons with the tail mechanics of any living animals difficult.
To find out more, therefore, researchers had to use computer simulations to determine the role played by dinosaur tails and how they moved in relation to the animals themselves.
The findings indicated that dinosaur tails swayed back and forth while walking and 'wagged' during running, most likely to help control the animal's angular momentum.
The simulations they used were based on a small theropod called Coelophysis bauri
"Essentially, our findings show that dinosaurs like Tyrannosaurus and Velociraptor wagged their tails from side to side when they ran, which helped them stay balanced," said paleontologist Peter Bishop.
"After running a range of further simulations making the tails heavier, lighter and even no tail at all, we were able to conclusively demonstrate that the tail wagging was a means of controlling angular momentum throughout their gait."
Source: Science Alert
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