Super predator, scarecrow of the land, king of the lizards... the Tyrannosaurus Rex, or T-Rex to its friends, was not a dinosaur to be seen around lunchtime. If it was frightening, one of its aspects was enough to make you laugh a little: its front legs, which were ridiculous in size, to say the least. But why did such a large animal have such short upper limbs? Scientists now think they know.
Avoiding accidental amputation
Obviously, the general public is not alone in asking such a question. In the scientific community, people are wondering, studying and even laughing about this physical feature. In a recent article, Kevin Padian, a palaeontologist, proposes a very credible explanation.
According to him, T-Rexes evolved in this way simply to avoid unintentional injury. The excessively large jaws of these dinosaurs could accidentally bite too long front legs, so they shortened.
To keep the forelimbs out of the way of the jaws of large conspecific predators, avoiding injury, blood loss, amputation, infection and death,
Feathered super predator
For the record, the T-Rex would have dominated the Earth at the very end of the Cretaceous period and would have been the victim of the meteorite that caused a mass extinction 66 million years ago. But contrary to what Steven Spielberg would have us believe, its appearance would not have been as terrifying as that.
Let's face it, he would have given us a run for our money in any case. Only, according to recent studies, he had feathers that made him look like a giant turkey! We've seen more believable super predators...
This article was translated from Gentside FR.