ALBURQUERQUE, N.M. — A new scientific study theorizes that the comically tiny arms of the deadly Tyrannosaurus rex may have been actually been useful.
The T. rex., known for having a large head and powerful jaw that dwarf its flailing limbs, may have had greater motion in their arms than previously thought.
At the annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology over the weekend, co-researchers Christopher Langel and Matthew Bonnan of Stockton University presented a study of the elbow and forearm functions of the American alligator and the domestic turkey, distant relatives of the T. rex.
They found that theropods, or carnivorous, bipedal dinosaurs, may have been able to rotate their palms inward and upward, according to a LiveScience report.
Theropods could have used these rotating forearms to trap prey in place or move it closer to take a bite, but more research is needed to determine if the T. rex. and other dinosaurs actually had these limb functions.
This theory could be difficult to support with scientific evidence from dinosaurs because humans will never see a real T. rex. in action, and the ligaments and soft tissue that affect arm movement rarely fossilize.
However, the researchers plan to study the ligaments of other bipedal dinosaurs and compare them with alligators and turkeys to determine if these arm movements actually occurred in dinosaurs.
The research has yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal.