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Tyrannosaurus


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Author Topic: Tyrannosaurus  (Read 3301 times)
Manetho
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« on: July 23, 2007, 01:36:40 pm »

Arms



When Tyrannosaurus rex was first discovered, the humerus was the only element of the forelimb known.[38] For the initial mounted skeleton as seen by the public in 1915, Osborn substituted longer, three-fingered forelimbs like those of Allosaurus.[24] However, a year earlier, Lawrence Lambe described the short, two-fingered forelimbs of the closely-related Gorgosaurus.[39] This strongly suggested that T. rex had similar forelimbs, but this hypothesis was not confirmed until the first complete T. rex forelimbs were identified in 1989, belonging to MOR 555 (the "Wankel rex").[40] The remains of "Sue" also include complete forelimbs.[1] T. rex 'arms' are very small relative to overall body size, measuring only 1 m (3 ft 3 in) long. However, they are not vestigial but instead show large areas for muscle attachment, indicating considerable strength. This was recognized as early as 1906 by Osborn, who speculated that the forelimbs may have been used to grasp a mate during copulation.[41] It has also been suggested that the forelimbs were used to assist the animal in rising from a prone position.[37] Another possibility is that the forelimbs held struggling prey while it was dispatched by the tyrannosaur's enormous jaws. This hypothesis may be supported by biomechanical analysis. T. rex forelimb bones exhibit extremely thick cortical bone, indicating that they were developed to withstand heavy loads. The biceps brachii muscle of a full-grown Tyrannosaurus rex was capable of lifting 199 kg (438 lb) by itself; this number would only increase with other muscles (like the brachialis) acting in concert with the biceps. A T. rex forearm also had a reduced range of motion, with the shoulder and elbow joints allowing only 40 and 45 degrees of motion, respectively. In contrast, the same two joints in Deinonychus allow up to 88 and 130 degrees of motion, respectively, while a human arm can rotate 360 degrees at the shoulder and move through 165 degrees at the elbow. The heavy build of the arm bones, extreme strength of the muscles, and limited range of motion may indicate a system designed to hold fast despite the stresses of a struggling prey animal.
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