When you see the skeleton of the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex there are a number of things that pop out at you. The massive jaws lined with gigantic teeth, the incredibly large and powerful legs, and the creature’s long, muscular tail are all incredibly intimidating, but new research suggests that the ancient dino’s puny little arms might have been quite formidable weapons as well.
In a presentation at the annual conference of the Geological Society of America, scientist Steven Stanley of the University of Hawaii argued that even though the Rex’s arms were small in comparison to the rest of its body, you most certainly wouldn’t want to get anywhere near them.
The T. rex’s arms, which could top three feet in length, may have been significantly most versatile than past research has led us to believe, according to Stanley. He argues that when engaging prey at a short distance, the arms would have been absolutely devastating, creating incredible damage with its three-inch-long claws. In fact, the wounds it could inflict with a single swipe of its pint-sized arms could have been as long as three feet, and several inches deep, which would be enough to cause massive bleeding and potentially even death.
When engaging with another dinosaur up close, the Rex would likely have flailed its arms in order to inflict the most damage, and if the prey was cornered or already injured, it would have been very difficult to avoid the strikes.
However, its arms still weren’t the primary offensive weapon in the Rex’s arsenal. Because the iconic dinosaur would already have to be essentially face-to-face with any creature close enough to be struck by its arms, the T. rex would likely have preferred to use its powerful jaws to do damage at a more comfortable distance.