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T. rex's small arms may have been useful after all | MNN

Tyrannosaurus rex was considered one of the most terrible carnivores of its time. While the debate is raging about whether…

Tyrannosaurus rex was considered one of the most terrible carnivores of its time. While the debate is raging about whether it was a pure predator or robber, we can all agree that T. rex looks like it knew how to turn down a meal.

However, because of its grim appearance, there were a few small, double-digit chlorine. They looked as if they belonged to a much smaller creature, not the so-called king of the tyrant’s lizards.

But scientists say that these exciting arms can still be useful, if an analysis of distant relatives is an indication.

Looking At The Present To Understand The Past

Considering the Foreground of a T. Rex, Christopher Langel, a Geologist, and Matthew Bonnan, Biology Professor, Both at Stockton University in New Jersey, looked at the limbs of the domestic turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) and the American alligator (Alligator Mississippiensis). They took the two animals and the humerus legs and placed them in two units that create what is called an X-ray rebuild of Moving Morphology or XROMM.

XROMM allows researchers to create a 3D model of the legs of what is being scanned. Movement data is then added to the scan and the result is a 3D-moving image that, according to XROMM’s website, allows researchers to see “fast leg movement, for example during bird-watching, jumping and human driving.”

While XROMM can be used with live specimens, Langel and Bonnan used only limbs of turkeys and alligators for their studies. The wings and arms were placed on a plexiglass platform between the XROMM machines. The two researchers then used fishing threads to pull the elbow on each limb while XROMM recorded the leg movements.

 A close-up of an alligator's front left leg
The American alligator can help researchers understand how T. rex moved his arms. (Photo: Wing-Chi Poon / Wikimedia Commons)

The results showed that the elbows of both animals are complicated in their movements, much more than ours. “As we bend our elbows, both forearm legs follow the hinge joint to fold into the upper arm,” the researchers said on October 17th during the 78th Annual Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. “Our hands often rotate the palm side up when we bend our elbows, because an forearm leg turns around the other.

“The arc [for turkeys and alligators] is more complex, and both legs of the forearm do not twist around the joint, but [also] rock laterally toward the upper arm when the elbow is bent,” the researchers continued. “Unlike our elbows, both forearm legs give the palms to turn inwards and upwards.”

This, according to Live Science, surprised the researchers.

“It was particularly surprising to see how much the forearm legs could rock side by side in the elbow, a movement that basically confined to mammals like us,” said Langel and Bonnan. “In essence, alligators and turkeys can turn the palm in and out as we do, but [they do it] by using more complex movements of the legs in the elbow. Again, Mother Nature has solved the same problem in different ways. “

Raise and point to something

 Close to a plastic model of T. rex arms
T. rex may have kept his arms inward. (Photo: JopsStock / Shutterstock)

As for what this means for T. rex, Live Science explains that the dinosaur is a “patter, not a slapper”. This means that T. rex would keep his hands folded inward as they clap, as opposed to turning downward and out as if they were relaxing.

The findings indicate that T. rex’s arms “could have rotated the palm inward and upward so that the palms would meet the chest when the elbow curled,” explained the researchers.

Why T. rex would do this is a mystery because we can not see the dinosaur in action.

“But we can speculate that such a movement (rotating the forearm and hand against the chest) may allow some theropods to get around in a bit,” Langel and Bonnan told Live Science in an email.

The duo’s research has not been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

T. rex’s little arms may have been useful after all

Due to studies of turkeys and alligators, scientists suspect that T. rex can turn the palms inward and upward – which can affect how and what it eats.

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