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Re: T. rex was a 'slow-turning plodder'...

The idea that it was lighter comes from accounting for honeycomb structures in the bones and air sacs, present in T. rex but not in elephants. Now, I think 3 tons is pushing it, but I can see a 5-ton rex. If this case for a lighter rex can be vindicated, I'd like to see how that would affect speed and turning velocity estimates.

The theropod-style skeletal elements, with their thinner walls and larger medullary cavities (compared to mammals) probably doesn't do much to reduce overall mass (the reason being that the overall volume of bones tends to be greater). In modern avians, for example, the skeleton accounts for about the same relative proportion of body mass as it does in mammals. Thus, despite having highly pneumatized skeletons and thin-walled bones, the lightened bony architecture does not so much reduce the whole mass of the animal, but rather allows for the skeleton to be expanded without total mass increasing appreciably.


--Mike H.