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Re: T.rex arms



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A few days ago I sent a follow-up message in reply to Jeff M's comments
to one of my posts on the T.rex foreleg debate.  I do not think the 
message transmitted, because it did not appear on my system, and I was 
having computer problems that day.  So I am resending it now as an 
attachment. If you have already received it, I apologize.  

Glen Kuban

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>From: paleo@ix.netcom.com (Glen J. Kuban )
Subject: Re: T.rex toothpick debate revisited
To:  dinosaur@lepomis.psych.upenn.edu

    Jeffery Martz questioned my suggestion that T.rex would use its 
forlegs/claws as toothpicks, noting that any meat stuck would be of 
little nutritional value.  
    First, this objection is not very relevant to my main point, since 
it is not the main reason T.rex would want to free food from its teeth 
(detailed below).  Besides that, I do not even think the objections is  
true.  When T.rex was eating, I think get some pretty big chunks of 
meat or hide could well get stuck in those mighty choppers, and it 
would have just as much nutritional value as the rest of its food.      
    But of course a T.rex is not going to count calories or try to 
compute nutritional value.  The main reason it would want to free stuck 
food is simply that it would be an irritation.  Anyone who has every 
watched modern animals (such as a lizard, snake, turtle, etc) prying 
and tearing with their front claws at food in their mouth knows that 
this is a common phenomena.  I have seen it many times. Sometimes they 
seem to just want to free a piece of stuck food (even humans find 
chunks of food stuch in their teeth anoying, hence literal toothpicks); 
other times animals seem to be repositioning or tearing the meat for 
easier biting and swallowing.
    Which brings up another (or broader) possible use of the arms that 
I neglected to mention.  That is, they could be used for any number of 
food manipulating purposes, such as pushing, prying, holding, tearing, 
or positioning food while eating, just like many modern animals do 
today.  Someone suggested the other day that a T.rex might use the legs 
to push itself away if it got its head stuck in a sauropod or 
something.  That seems like an extreme example, but I can think of more 
mundane but useful food manipulating uses for the front legs and claws. 
And as I mentioned before, I see no anatomical reason why it could not 
(distance wise, it would work).  So far those who doubt this have given 
no real reasons for their position.  As I asked before, to those who 
question this, on what basis do you do so, and where do you see the 
problem in mobility (the next or the arms?).   

Glen Kuban

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