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Tyrannosaur arms



     There has been quite a bit of debate over the functionality and usefulness
(or uselessness, depending on who you talk to) of T-rex's forelimbs. It is
known that they were, of course, very small for an animal of T-rex's size. They
were only about three feet long, the size of a man's arm. A recent study by
some very reputable paleontologists has determined that these limbs were
surprisingly strong, being able to lift upwards of four hundred pounds. There
was so much muscle mass that the elbow joints could not even straighten all the
way out. 

     Now, the way T-rex may have used his arms is very hard to determine, but
the fact that they couldn't be straightened out seems to rule out the
possibility that they were used to grab prey, as well as the idea that they
held down struggling, wounded prey, since the rex would have to lean way, way
over. It seems to me that T-rex most likely used his arms in a much simpler
way. 

     After killing an animal, rex would, of course, eat as much of it as
possible. But what would he do if another, larger rex, or possibly two or three
big predators showed up, eager for a free meal? Those arms would allow him to
carry hundreds of pounds of meat off with him, something other carnivors may
not be able to do. Certainly no major predator alive today can carry four
hundred pounds of meat around. If a T-rex were to kill an ornithomimid or a
small ceratopsian (perhaps a juvenile), he could concievably carry the whole
carcass off, away from hungry scavangers and freeloaders.

     Just a thought.

                                     Aaron Gwin, aspiring paleontologist