Skip to Main Content
Skip Nav Destination

Craniocervical feeding dynamics of Tyrannosaurus rex

Eric Snively and Anthony P. Russell
Craniocervical feeding dynamics of Tyrannosaurus rex
Paleobiology (December 2007) 33 (4): 610-638


Tyrannosaurus rex and other tyrannosaurid theropods exerted high bite forces, and large muscle attachments suggest that the tyrannosaurid neck was a concomitantly powerful component of the feeding apparatus. We examine accelerative and work-generating capacity (WGC) of neck muscles in adult Tyrannosaurus rex, using a 3-D vector-based method that incorporates aspects of muscle force generation, reconstruction of muscle morphology and moment arms, and rotational inertias of the head and neck. Under conservative assumptions, radial accelerations of the head by large superficial muscles (M. transversospinalis capitis, M. complexus, and M. longissimus capitis superficialis) enabled rapid gaze shifts and imparted high tangential velocities to food sufficient for inertial feeding. High WGC by these and deeper muscles under eccentric contraction indicate high efficacy for tearing flesh, especially with the head and neck in an extended posture. Sensitivity analyses suggest that assigned density of the antorbital region has substantial effects on calculated rotational inertia, and hence on the accuracy of results. However, even with high latitude for estimation errors, the results indicate that adult T. rex could strike rapidly at prey and engage in complexly modulated inertial feeding, as seen in extant archosaurs.

ISSN: 0094-8373
EISSN: 1938-5331
Serial Title: Paleobiology
Serial Volume: 33
Serial Issue: 4
Title: Craniocervical feeding dynamics of Tyrannosaurus rex
Affiliation: University of Calgary, Department of Biological Sciences, Calgary, AB, Canada
Pages: 610-638
Published: 200712
Text Language: English
Publisher: Paleontological Society, Lawrence, KS, United States
References: 75
Accession Number: 2007-128516
Categories: Vertebrate paleontology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 9 tables
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Abstract, Copyright, The Paleontological Society. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States
Update Code: 200751
Close Modal

or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal