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T. rex tails
>In the interesting discussions on fighting Tyrannosaurus Reges
>nobody has mentioned tails. Did dinosaurs not use them for fighting ?
>Not knowing anything really, I assumed that a heavy tail would have
>been a reasonable weapon.
The tail of tyrannosaurs wouldn't be particularly useful as weapons. In
fact, they were proportionately shorter and stiffer than more primitive
theropod tails (allosaurids). Also, about a third of the tail (perhaps
more) supported the M. caudofemoralis, a muscle which isn't very useful in
using the tail as a weapon, but is instead the main muscle which provided
the power stroke to the hindlimbs. Probably only dinosaurs with special
adaptations (whip-tailed diplodocids; club-tailed sauropods, ankylosaurids,
and polacanthids; spike-tailed stegosaurians, etc.) routinely used their
tails as weapons, and probably only for defence.
BTW, there is no plural of Tyrannosaurus rex. As with all generic and
specific names, these are proper names. You can have several individuals of
Tyrannosaurus rex, for example, but there is only one Tyrannosaurus rex.
[And as a side note, as I taught my class, T. rex (no hyphen, trivial nomen
with lower case, and italicized/underlined when you can) is the only proper
shortened form for the name, Jurassic Park notwithstanding.]
Thomas R. HOLTZ
Vertebrate Paleontologist, Dept. of Geology