Over the years, Tyrannosaurus rex has gone with a variety of appearances that started with an upright Godzilla look to today’s bent over level backed versions. T. rex has been portrayed as a speedster that can nearly run down a jeep as on Jurassic Park to a lumbering hulk that couldn’t out run anything.
Once they pretty much settled upon the modern stance of the T. rex, the argument has been more concentrated on exactly how big and how fast T. rex may have been. Scientists have examined the skeletons with their muscle attachments and structures and did their best to estimate its size. Based on these calculations, scientists have estimated adults ranged in size from 4.5 to 6.5 tons.
Those sizes are believed to have allowed the king tyrant lizards to run at a fairly moderate speed, but not nearly as fast as portrayed in all the movies. They surmised that it was able to hunt down slower prey such as some of the bulky herbivores, old and wounded animals.
However, a new study may completely alter the currently held view of the fearsome looking dinosaur.
A team of scientists used five different T. rex skeletons including the famous T. rex named Sue that belongs to the Field Museum in Chicago, as their test subjects. They called in a forensics team with their laser scanning equipment, but found that Sue’s head was too big for this type of scanner. Not to be deterred, the team ended up taking Sue’s enormous 5 foot long skull to a Ford Motor facility that had a laser scanner they used for scanning auto engines.
Eventually, the entire skeleton was scanned in sections and all of the scans carefully assembled in a three dimensional computer program. Now the team took the five 3-D skeletons and using computer technology, the tried overlaying various skin configurations over the skeletons to try to determine which form best fit the skeletons and overall structure.
The team was surprised to find that all of their work indicated T. rex had tremendous thigh muscles. While you first think that these huge thunder thighs would be used for speed in hunting; that is not the case. The tests indicated that the oversized thighs were necessary to hold up its upper body, especially in the posture now considered to be correct as explained by one of the team:
That shift changes a lot of the inertial properties, by shifting the mass forward you’re shifting the pivot point away from the hips, which is the natural pivot, so that requires bigger muscles. T. rex has pretty large, in fact, enormous leg muscles, probably the largest leg muscles of any creature that ever lived, but a lot of that leg muscle had to stabilize the animal and didn’t translate into speed.
Everyone knew that Sue was a large specimen; no one was prepared to see the results that indicate that she (they are not sure of sex, but named for Sue Hendrickson who discovered the massive beast) weighed in at 9 tons. This was much larger and heavier than anyone expected.
It also indicated that as a T. rex got older and larger that it also slowed down. One the size of Sue was most likely not very fast at all and may have had to rely on feeding on kills made by other dinosaurs.
But what impressed me most about this study was that there was not one reference to millions of years, what period T. rex lived in or evolution. Their work had everything to do with science and nothing to do with evolution and is one of many examples that prove the famous evolutionist Theodosius Dobzhansky was wrong when he said, Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.
Bryner, Jeanna. Old Thunder Thighs: T. Rex’s Weight Topped 9 Tons, Live Scienced,Oct. 12, 2011.
HutchinsonJR, Bates KT, Molnar J, Allen V, Makovicky PJ. A Computational Analysis of Limb and Body Dimensions in Tyrannosaurus rex with Implications for Locomotion, Ontogeny, and Growth. PLoS ONE 6(10), Oct. 12, 2011.
In this stunning program, watch science and the Bible unite as you learn the amazing truth about these creatures. Using several museum-quality dinosaur fossils and specimens, Dr. G. Thomas Sharp will explain the Biblical view of dinosaur origins, and their disappearance, as he walks you through the five most frequently asked questions about these incredible animals.
Did Dinosaurs really exist? if so, when Did they exist? Where are they now? Why is the word “Dinosaurs” not in the Bible? Were Dinosaurs on Noah’s ark?
Dr. Sharp will also reveal their fascinating history and the role they play in the development of a Biblical worldview.
Learn the Truth About Dinosaurs.