Tyrannosaurus rex (T. rex) May Have Used Short Arms as Deadly Slashers

tyrannosaurus rex

According to University of Hawaii paleontologist Steven Stanley, the fearsome Tyrannosaurus rex, more famously known as T. rex, could have used its short forearms and claws as deadly slashing weapons.

Until now, it’s been thought that the male T. rex used its forearms to hold its mate close during sexual intercourse. Others have believed that it was merely vestigial, serving no useful purpose after the enlarged head took over the grasping function. But according to Stanley, the arms were not as tiny as usually portrayed, and possess derived traits that actually made them highly functional for slashing at victims or jumping on their backs and attacking them.

Per Stanley’s notes in the Geological Society of America:

(1) The shortness of the arms would actually have been advantageous for this activity.

(2) A large coracoid indicates that the arms were very strong: not only slightly longer than the leg of a six-foot man but also of similar girth.

3) The arm bones were quite robust and would readily have sustained the impact of slashing.

(4) The unusual reduction of the number of fingers from three to two would have resulted in 50% more pressure being applied to each claw.

(5) The humoral head was part of an unusual quasi-ball-and-socket joint that would have provided considerable mobility for slashing.

(6) The huge (8-10cm-long) sickle-shaped claws would have caused deep wounds.

Not everyone is convinced that the explanation is sound, however, which only goes to show that the Tyrannosaurus rex, the oft-portrayed predator of the Age of Dinosaurs, is still not as well-understood as we’d like to think.

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