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Re: Do not misunderestimate the king was Re: Evolution of tyrannosauroid
(Reposted in plain text for Ken.)
Thanks, David. There is much new data in Lipkin and Carpenter's paper in the
T rex book due out soon. The evidence includes various pathologies (stress
fractures, fractures, muscle avulsions of the humerus) that it it clear that
the forelimbs are placed under a great deal of stress. Remarkably, the
incidence (as %) of these pathologies of JUST the forelimb bones (including
coracoid, and furcula) is highest of any theropod. Although Farkes' caution
is a good one, it is important to look at what the entire "system" says,
rather than one feature. Thus, while the enlarged peroneal process (single
feature) may not correspond to the grasping power of the peroneus longus in
lemurs,the entire hindlimb (a "system") clearly does show an adaptation for
grasp while climbing. Thus, the new evidences from the entire forelimb system
T rex show the forelimb was used actively.
Kenneth Carpenter, Ph.D.
Curator of Lower Vertebrate Paleontology
and Chief Preparator
Department of Earth Sciences
Denver Museum of Nature & Science
2001 Colorado Blvd.
Denver, CO 80205 USA
ph: 303-370-6392/ or 6403
for PDFs of my reprints, info about the Cedar Mtn. Project, etc. see:
for fun, see also:
From: owner-DINOSAUR@usc.edu on behalf of David Marjanovic
Sent: Sun 12/30/2007 6:27 PM
Subject: Do not misundreshtmate the king was Re: Evolution of tyrannosauroid
> "Strong" is a relative term. Carpenter and Smith (2001) estimated the
> maximum force capable of being generated by the M. biceps in T. rex to be
> about 1955 N, or about 199 kg (440 pounds) per arm.
As you mention, this is just the biceps alone.
Furthermore, the shapes and the cortex thicknesses of the arm bones are
stupefying, and the scapulocoracoid is large, even though the arm is not.
Here are a few lines from Table 9.1 of Carpenter & Smith (2001); I recommend
to compare the measurements (all in cm) to your own:
MOR 555 (gracile) FMNH PR 2081 (robust)
humerus length 37.7 37.3
humerus distal width 8.4 8.9
ulna length > 19.5 21.9
ulna prox. anteropost. length 6.7 7.1
ulna width prox. 6.4 4.4
radius length > 15.1 17.3
radius prox. anteropost. length 4.2 5.2
radius prox. width 2.9 3.7
metacarpal II length 9.4 10.9
metacarpal II prox. anteropost. length - 4.1
metacarpal II prox. width - 4.9
metacarpal II distal width - 3.9
"Finally, the least amount of forearm motion is that of *T. rex* (fig.
9.13), which has short arms and the very low MA [mechanical advantage] of an
FBS [force-based system]. The limited ROM [range of motion] and short lever
arm of the forelimb provided a very stable platform for the very powerful M.
biceps. This indicates to us that the forelimbs were used to hold a [sic]
struggling prey. In support of this interpretation, we note the pathology
along the medial side of the humerus in FMNH PR 2081. The [huge] site of
damage corresponds to the medial head of the M. triceps humeralis, which
serves to adduct and extend the lower arm. As noted above, the pathology is
characteristic of partial avulsion caused by abnormally high stress loads.
Such loads might occur while clutching a large, struggling animal, such as
an adult hadrosaur (see Carpenter in press)[.] Indeed, the straight shaft of
the humerus, as compared with that of *Allosaurus* (see Gilmore 1920), is
precisely what is expected for maximum strength per unit mass (Bertram and
Biewener, 1988). Such conditions occur where the bone must resist axial
compression, as it would do in this case with the powerful M. biceps (see
fig. 9.12). Furthermore, the very low K [ratio of marrow cavity radius to
bone radius] and R/t [bone radius to cortical thickness] values for the
humerus, ulna, and radius indicate bones selected for ultimate strength or
impact loading. Finally, to ensure that the struggling prey not escape while
the mouth is attempting to kill it, the two ungual claws point somewhat
inward (fig. 9.13C) so that they do not slip out of the prey easily."
(Carpenter & Smith 2001:112sq.)
Clearly, there was _strong_ selection _for_ power, even though the arms
(except the hands) are short (not small -- just short). Carpenter & Smith
even suggest that the arms are short in order to bring the distal ends of
the bones closer to the muscle attachment sites on the same bones,
decreasing speed and increasing force. And the force was with *T. rex*, even
though not enough of it to prevent the abovementioned partial tendon
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