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Re: How Did Giant Theropods Break Their Fall?

There was a documentary on the discovery channel (I think) not too long ago about ostriches, I didn't see it, but my father did. From what he saw on the show, ostriches can do some pretty amazing things. They talked about how they can go from 40mph to a dead stop and immediately go the opposite direction. I guess they can have some pretty nasty wipe outs without any injuries. Unfortunately, this doesn't really apply to a T-rex or any other giant theropod since an ostrich doesn't weigh 6 tons.

My thoughts on a falling t-rex come from thinking about all the times I've tripped and fallen. Unless both legs are taken out from under me, I usually take one or two more steps forward, lowering my knee to the ground in the process. Maybe I'm wrong, but would't a t-rex do the same? if it did, its body would only be 2 or 3 feet from the ground before it actually fell.

From: "Simon M. Clabby" <dinowight@yahoo.co.uk>
To: simkoning@msn.com
Subject: Re: How Did Giant Theropods Break Their Fall?
Date: Tue, 24 Jan 2006 12:33:12 +0000 (GMT)

And on the subject, how to ratites cope with a fall?
They have no long arms to break a fall, and they go at
quite considerable speeds.

--- Sim Koning <simkoning@msn.com> wrote:

>   Hello everyone, I'm new here and this is may very
> first post.
>   The subject that currently interests me the most
> is the debate on whether
> or not short limbed, large theropods could survive a
> fall. The reason this
> interests me is due in part to the fact that I'm a
> martial arts instructor
> and breaking a fall is a big part of what I do. I
> know Farlow has stated in
> his work that a tyrannosaurus would likely die even
> if it fell at a stand
> still. I'm no physicist, but the idea that giant
> theropods would die so
> easily from a fall doesn't make sense when I
> consider their life style.
>   I know from actual fighting that most fights that
> involve any kind of
> grappling go to the ground, even when both fighters
> are trying to avoid
> doing so. When two people grapple, one usually loses
> his balance and falls,
> often pulling his opponent with him. Now unless ALL
> giant predators were
> scavengers, one would expect that these animals
> would fall quite often in
> the process of grappling with their prey. I say
> grappling because all
> theropods seemed to kill their prey by seizing them
> with their jaws and/or
> their claws. Giganotosaurus was larger than T-rex
> and tackled even larger
> prey. Giganotosaurus, even with its slashing teeth,
> would had to of locked
> its jaws into the flesh of its prey at least
> momentarily before tearing off
> a large chunk of skin and muscle. A sudden turn, or
> even a forceful bump
> from a 50-100 ton titanosaur could have knocked the
> giant beast to the
> ground. Since this is how giant theropods got their
> food, one would expect
> that they could survive a fall.
> So, how did giant theropods prevent injury while
> falling? My guess is that
> they didn't, every fall probably resulted in broken
> or fractured ribs, but I
> don't think it would always be life threatening.
> They find broken and healed
> bones on theropods all the time, is it possible that
> many of these were from
> falls? My question is how did they prevent serious
> injury or death? You
> might be surprised to know that extending your arms
> to break a fall is one
> of the easiest ways to break your arm and least
> effective way to break a
> fall. While falling backwards or to the side,
> martial artists do not extend
> their arms at all, instead they relax their bodies
> and spread the impact
> over a wide area, often by slapping the arms against
> the ground at the same
> time the body makes contact.  The only time the arms
> are used to break a
> fall is while falling forward. While doing a front
> breakfall, the arms are
> bent, not extended and the arms are used like a
> springboard. In every
> breakfall that martial artists use, the head is
> always elevated away from
> the ground during impact, this is to prevent head
> injuries.
> The following are my guesses as to how giant
> theropods may have responded to
> falls from different angles.
> Side Fall-  This would probably be the most damaging
> fall for a theropod
> since some of these animals would in effect be
> falling 10 feet to the
> ground. To minimize injury, I imagine they would
> spread the impact over as
> wide an area as possible. Most of the shock would
> probably be taken by the
> thigh and body, followed by the tail. The neck would
> likely be bent away
> from the ground, with the head elevated as much as
> possible to prevent it
> from slamming into the earth. The animal would
> probably instinctively expel
> the air from its lungs at the moment of impact to
> reduce the shock and avoid
> internal injury.
> Front Fall- I doubt this type of fall would cause
> any major injury since the
> animal is already in a horizontal position, with the
> pubic boot at most
> being 5 to 6 feet away from the ground. I imagine
> that if a T-rex stumbled
> while walking it would bend its knees while trying
> to regain balance, which
> would lower the pubic foot, knees and stomach even
> closer to the ground
> before impact, possibly only falling a few feet in
> the process. I think
> people forget that a t-rex is already horizontal and
> would not fall like a
> top heavy, upright human. I've always imagined that
> tyrannosaurs would land
> on their pubic foot and knees when falling, once
> again with the neck and
> head elevated away from the ground.
> Falling While Running- If a giant theropod fell
> while running, I imagine it
> would instinctively try to lower its body as much as
> possible to the ground
> before making impact. The body would probably be
> kept level, so that when it
> hit, it would effectively skid across the ground.
> Contrary to what people
> think, if you fall right while running, you are less
> likely to be hurt than
> if you jumped straight into the air and landed on
> your back. The problem is
> that if there is a lot of friction, a tyrannosaur
> would likely roll head
> over tail, which I imagine could result in a broken
> neck. Humans, cats, dogs
> and many other animals avoid this by curling the
> neck and back to roll
> across the ground. Rolling can make a fall, even at
> high speeds, completely
> painless. Now I have no idea whether a T-rex or
> Giganotosaurus was flexible
> enough to curl its neck and back in such a fashion,
> maybe one of you know?
> those are my thoughts. If you think my ideas are
> rather silly feel free to
> let me know =)
> Sim Koning
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