Thursday, February 9, 2012

A formidable dinosaur — with strange small ineffective arms

The huge, cannibalistic dinosaur had such uneven arms that it could not have grasped anything or even injured its own face, according to a new study published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

Tyrannosaurus rex and other well known greedy dinosaurs also had reduced forelimbs. While Majungasaurus, which lived 66 million years ago in Madagascar, was not a close T. Rex Relation, some lifestyle factors might have caused them to develop certain similarities.

"The development of small arms in greedy dinosaur’s relics a secrecy, but fossils like this are a significant clue in sympathetic the procedure," co-author Matthew Carrano, a paleobiologist at the Smithsonian Institution.

The forearm bones are only a district of the length of the higher arm bones, but would have been broad and brawny. The wrist bones, however, aren't even ossified, and the short fingers probably lacked claws.

"Only by discovering the stops foremost from 'normal' longer arms in the ancestral forms, to the small and strange ones in Majungasaurus and its close relatives, can we hope to explain the evolutionary series and its causes."

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