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Re: Vestigial Arms (was: Theropod limbs - how mobile?)
On Sunday, May 19, 2002, at 01:50 AM, David Marjanovic wrote:
"Maximum working range" = 199 kg for the biceps alone.
Haven't we got to be a little skeptical of such estimates? I wasn't
aware that muscle strengths could be estimated with any degree of
Even if they were that strong, they would still be ripped off by a
struggling six tonne animal. I cannot envision tyrannosaurids struggling
with their prey, it seems to risky for such large animals. To get their
hand claws lodged in their prey would require tyrannosaurids to get very
close, with wide areas of contact with their prey. At such close
quarters, a simple shift in weight from the herbivore would throw the
tyrannosaurid off balance, because its movement would be severely
restricted. Falling over next to a panicked Triceratops or Anatotitan
would be disastrous!
And if they were using their arms for such purposes, why were they so
It has been suggested before (sorry, I can't remember who it was) that
they used their arms for intraspecific contests. The arms were small to
keep them out of the way, and save energy growing them, yet they
remained muscular for arm-wrestling with rivals.
You know it makes sense. ;-)
P.S. Show me a convincing drawing showing a tyrannosaurid using its
arms to subdue prey, and I will reconsider.
John Conway, Palaeoartist
"All art is quite useless." - Oscar Wilde
Systematic ramblings: http://homepage.mac.com/john_conway/phylogenetic/