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Animals in Combat: (T-Rex) The Tyrannosaurus Rex
The Tyrannosaurus Rex is one of the largest, most ferocious carnivores of all time. They are believed to have spread fear around the world some 65-67 million years ago and were among the last non-avian dinosaur species alive before the great Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction catastrophe.
They are characterized with a thick heavy skull, 4 feet (1.2 meters) long jaw, a long pointed tail, relatively short arms and two powerful hind legs all packed in a heavy, thick, scaly body of muscles and bones that can weigh up to 6.8 metric tons, can grow up to 40 feet (12 meters) long and stands at about 15 to 20 feet (4.6 to 6 meters) tall.
It was like every detail about this monster was just perfectly designed to inflict terror to anyone who stood up upon its presence; this is primarily why it got the honor to bear such a trembling name “Tyrannosaurus Rex” which means “Tyrant Lizard King” or shortly referred to as T-Rex.
Some paleontologists had long been challenging Tyrannosaurus Rex’s reputation by questioning whether or not it was really a skillful predator or a mere scavenger. Experts like Jack Horner presented competitive evidences about its incapacity to be an effective hunter and its possible wimpy feeding habits. But in depth scientific analysis and logical reasoning heavily prove its hunting and battle prowess.
Jack Horner's Scavenger Theory
Present facts also provide evidences of carnivores feeding tendencies, as in today’s wildlife itself it can be well observed that predators sometimes scavenge and scavengers sometimes hunt. Meat eaters will hunt if they have to, steal the kills of others if they can or effortlessly enjoy a laid meal if the opportunity presents itself. It’s a non-mutually exclusive behavior of all meat eaters, and the same can also be true to the predators of prehistoric times.
From the physique of a T-Rex it is undeniably a killing machine and to further understand the Tyrant Lizard King’s Combat Capability let’s take a closer look at its dreadful battle arsenal.
Eye of a Hunter
C.T Scan results revealed that T-Rex has well developed optic nerves protruding from the delicate networks of its brain tissues. These nerves are responsible for relaying information from the eyes to the visual centers of the brain. And the nerves’ pretty huge size suggests it is capable of processing enormous amount of Information. They also have well developed eye-sockets positioned in such a way that their eyes are facing forward, giving them a clear, advantageously elevated binocular vision relatively comparable or possibly superior to that of modern day hawks.
T-Rex has olfactory bulbs and nerves which are a relatively large part of their brain. These give them a highly reliable sense of smell capable of sniffing scents of prey, competitors and also the smell of carcasses over great distances. On a specific study about olfactory bulbs of the dinosaurs, it was even found out that T-Rex has the most highly developed sense of smell among the 21 species subjected to the study.
T-Rex jaws are the prehistoric jaws of death. It is supported by a strong network of neck and jaw muscles and the head’s enormous weight adds more power to amplify the damage of every single bite.
T-Rex teeth were a series of lethal 12-13inch long chisel-like blades near the snout and some banana shaped pointed spears going to the inner jaw. They are strong not only capable of piercing rough plated muscles but are also powerful enough to crush bones.
Scientists believed that T-Rex’ powerful jaws could rip out approximately 500 pounds (230 kilograms) of meat in a single bite and thus has all the power to kill a prey in one blow. An initial raging bite on a vital part of the body such as the neck can send the prey into rupture from a severe cut on its main blood vessels. The rapid loss of blood will then eventually diminish its strength and mobility making it helpless for finishing.
Healed T-Rex inflicted damages were also found in some recovered dinosaur skeletal remains evidently suggesting that T-Rex bite grip were strong enough to pierce as deep into the victim’s skeletal frames. This also suggests that they were really active predators as they have been attacking live animals (Like the one discovered who luckily had survived the attack and was able to heal the wounds).
The T-Rex long hind legs are enormously powerful to carry the body’s weight through a wide variety of terrains. They are primarily made up of Thick thigh bones, tibia and tightly interlocked foot bones similar to that of an ostrich. This is a type of bone structure commonly found among today’s running animals which predominantly suggests that T-Rex has the capability to run and could possibly be the fastest Theropod in his time. Scientists approximate its maximum moving speed to reach up to around 11 meters per second or 40 km per hour (25 mph) nearly as fast as a human sprinter. Its massive legs were also very useful in immobilizing or holding struggling prey on the ground.
T-Rex tail is made up of a thick vertebral column and heavy muscles primarily used for locomotion and body balance. Little evidences were found about T-Rex’ tail being a major armament in battle, though recovered skeletal remains of this dinosaur were found to have damages and fractures on their tails, probably acquired from combat. Its possible major combat use is in making necessary quick turns such as changing direction when chasing a prey.
Little Lethal Arms
Though these T-Rex front limbs are extremely small relative to its sheer size, they are not totally useless. In fact they are surprisingly powerful. These tiny, little two-fingered limbs are powerful enough to lift weights up to 199 kilograms or approximately 3.5 times more powerful than the human arms.
Though T-Rex is known to feed mostly from species smaller than its size, recovered T-Rex skeletal remains were found with shattered ribs, fractures in different parts of the body, cracked and torn out skulls and brain cases. Most of these damages specially on the head were acquired from collisions or blows, suggesting that T-Rex has been fighting opponents of its size and height most probably another T-Rex out of rivalry or maybe some other species of the same or more height and power. However, the wounds found had shown signs of healing which means T-Rex had survived deadly battles in their lives and are incredibly tough species to withstand bone crushing damages that could kill modern day animals.
Like the rest of Earth dwellers, T-Rex has its weaknesses. Its sheer size primarily becomes a weakness against space. T-Rex is not a particularly agile animal, they may be once when they are smaller and younger but they lose it as they grow bigger. They are also in danger from heights and off balance falls because of their heavy bodies. Falling with such tonnage can cause them to severely break whatever body part that will be heavily stressed in the impact. Their small arms also limit their ability to hold or grip, this is maybe why they got such devastating jaws in order to get better chances at instant killing and stoppage.
The Tyrannosaurus Rex is indeed one of the most magnificent creature that ever lived. At least for everyone who admired them. As to why and how they have vanished from all the Earth is still a great mystery. Though I think it is something to be thanked for more than be questioned, because coexisting with them would have been breath taking. They might have been dead but their remains will continue to uphold their strengths. They might have been extinct but their greatness will live through history. They might have gone but their time will never be forgotten.