Paleontologists Reveal The Real Reason T-Rex Had Such Short Arms
Science and Technology
On 14th November 2017
The delicate little limbs have provoked a lot of mirths, despite the rest of its colossal body instilling horror in those who see it. However, the pathetically limp arms may not be as useless as we originally thought. In fact, they may even be more dangerous than the T-Rex’s sinisterly sharp teeth…
When T. Rex was described in the early part of the last century, it was the biggest meat-eater that had ever been seen, and it’s still the biggest. Paleontologists who have looked at the biomechanics of the T. Rex jaw believe it has the most powerful bite force of any animal on land.
As far as current theories go, the idea that T. Rex’s forelimbs are in fact totally useless is growing in popularity, says Sara Burch, a paleontologist at Ohio University.
There are all these memes making fun of its puny little arms—the joke is that T. Rex can’t put on its hat, clap its hands or wipe its bum. But Tyrannosaurus Rex recovered bones show that their arms would not have been entirely surplus, for they had deep muscle attachment meaning that they would have had alarming strength.
Tyrannosaurus Rex had one of the smallest arm-to-body-mass ratios of the entire Mesozoic Era. For decades, paleontologist and biologists have debated how T. Rex used its arms, and whether a further 10 million or so years of evolution (assuming the K/T Extinction hadn't happened) might have caused them to disappear entirely, the way they have in modern snakes.
The precise purpose of T. Rex’s relatively tiny arms has long been mysterious. But now one researcher argues that we’ve got it all wrong. Steven Stanley, a paleontologist at the University of Hawaii in Manoa, believes Tyrannosaurus’ arms were well-adapted for “vicious slashing” at close quarters, making use of four-inch-long claws to inflict deep wounds on unfortunate prey.