TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) -The small arms of one of the largest dinosaurs to roam the Earth have long-confounded scientists, and made the otherwise-fearsome carnivore the butt of dinosaur jokes.
New research, however, suggests that appearances are misleading, and claims the insignificant-looking arms were in fact used to tear prey to shreds.
Paleontologist Steven Stanley from the University of Hawaii at Manoa says that the T-rex likely slashed its cornered prey using its arms. Stanley presented his paper on the subject at the Geological Society of America this week.
“Its short, strong forelimbs and large claws would have permitted T. rex, whether mounted on a victim’s back or grasping it with its jaws, to inflict four gashes a meter or more long and several centimeters deep within a few seconds – and it could have repeated this multiple times in rapid succession,” Stanley said.
He backed up the claim pointing to the widespread slashing carried out among other theropod taxa – dinosaurs characterized by their three-toed limbs.
Stanley noted that six of the limb’s derived traits indicate that the arms were adapted for slashing at close quarters. These attributes included the arms’ short length, the robustness of the bones and the huge (8-10cm-long) sickle-shaped claws that could inflict deep wounds.