T. Rex’s Small Arms Weren’t Useless After All: They Were Built For Slashing, New Theory Says

The Tyrannosaurus rex’s small arms may just have been vindicated once and for all. There’s long been a school of thought that said the T. Rex’s tiny arms were useless or, at best, used for mating purposes. But now paleontologist Steven Stanley from the University of Hawaii at Manoa has a new theory. He claims that the ferocious T. Rex used its arms for some savage slashing at close range. They were weapons of deadly fury, he says.

As Stanley notes, the T. Rex’s arms may have been small, but they were incredibly strong. Their dense bones could easily withstand the wear and tear that slashing would cause. Moreover, each arm had two sharp claws that were about 10 centimeters long. This is even more evidence that the arms were used for slashing since two claws are more effective for that purpose than three. The claws were also beveled, much like a bear’s claw and unlike an eagle’s claw, which is designed for grasping.

However, as Science News reports, there are some who disagree with Stanley’s theory about the Tyrannosaurus rex’s arms. Firstly, even though the arms were strong, they were still much smaller than the rest of the dinosaur’s body. So they may not have had the range to act as an effective weapon for the T. Rex, says paleontologist Thomas Holtz of the University of Maryland. But the arms grew faster than the rest of the body, so they may have been useful to younger T. Rex’s, Holtz adds.

The Tyrannosaurus rex’s ancestors used their arms for grasping, so they were much longer. But somewhere during the creature’s evolution, they started to use their heads for grasping, so the arms gradually got smaller.

The T. Rex evolved during the Cretacious period, which was 145 million years ago. The Jurassic Park movie franchise has long been ridiculed by some paleontologists for including the animal in the Jurassic period, which occurred between 199.6 to 145.5 million years ago. But scientists have recently discovered the footprints of a dinosaur very similar to the T. Rex that would have existed during the Jurassic period. The footprints are huge — 57 centimeters long — and indicate that the animal was a massive, carnivorous super-predator who would have been a close relative to the Tyrannosaurus rex, the Express reports.

Do you think that the T. Rex used their little arms as weapons, or were they just useless appendages on an otherwise frightful dinosaur? Let us know what you think in the comments below.


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