T. Rex had more than junk in its trunk

Posted by David Gomez

Paleontologists used to believe Tyrannosaurus Rex was a monstrous and slow scavenger. But now a Canadian researcher has hypothesized that the dinosaur was actually a very fast and efficient killing machine.

Scott Persons, a University of Alberta graduate student says that T. rex’s elongated tail was more than just a counterbalance for the animal’s enormous head. Its tail also had extremely strong muscles that allowed it to run at a high rate of speed, UPI reported Tuesday.
    
"Contrary to earlier theories, T. rex had more than just junk in its trunk," Persons said.
    
Persons used the tails of modern reptiles like crocodiles and Komodo and compared them to T. rex’s mighty appendage. He found that for all of the animals in his study, the largest muscles in the tail were attached to the upper leg bones.
    
These muscles, called caudofemoralis muscles, provide a powerful stroke that allowed T. Rex to move forward quite fast Persons said.
    
Wide-ranging measurements of T. rex bones along with computer models show that past estimates of muscle mass in the legendary dinosaur’s tail were off by as much as 45 percent, he said.
    
Naturally that led earlier dinosaur researchers to think that T. rex did not have sufficient muscle mass for running. That made researchers to think T. rex’s role was that of a scavenger who can only survive on animals that were killed by other predators.
    
Making it seem much less cool to those who know about dinosaurs (I loved dinosaurs when I was a kid, still do).
    
But Persons says T. rex’s real speed is hard to figure out, but he says he is sure that it could most likely catch any unlucky animal in its ecosystem.