There are a handful of things you learn as a child that hold true all the way through adulthood: stoves are hot, you cannot ride the dog, and dinosaurs are awesome. Those are the only facts in life; everything else is subjective. But recent discoveries are shedding some shocking new light on our planet's resident badasses. Your heart fell a bit reading that, but don't worry -- we're learning that, if anything, dinosaurs may have been way cooler than we ever thought possible.
#6. Tyrannosaurus' Cute Little Arms Could Rip You to Shreds
Tyrannosaurus rex was the Tyrannosaurus rex of the dinosaur world. You don't need metaphors when you've got a bite force in excess of the weight of an African elephant. A single nibble from T. rex makes your whole goddamn species go extinct. The only thing powerful enough to kill and eat a T. rex is another T. rex. Still, there's one thing that made every T. rex grow up to develop a nagging inferiority complex, and that's the relentless teasing all the other dinosaurs gave him about his itty-bitty arms.
Levent Konuk/iStock/Getty Images
"Dude, it's how you use it."
Hey, you guys, T. rex is napping -- quick, tickle his ear hole and let's watch him try to slap it! And then we'd laugh and laugh, and he'd use those hilariously inadequate arms to rip us clean the fuck in two.
Though they were only slightly longer than an average man's, you've got to remember that a T. rex's arms were attached to nine salivating tons of pure, fabulous muscle. His biceps alone could curl 430 pounds apiece, and that's not even taking into account the fact that those guns had backup in the form of the friggin' nuclear weapons that were his chest and shoulder muscles. Paleontologists think that a T. rex's arms were powerful enough to help him push his enormous body up from the ground after sleeping, or to latch onto a female T. rex during mating. If they're strong enough to bone a T. rex with, those arms are more than strong enough to rip you apart like so much meaty Weetabix.
In case he gets bored of eating you whole and decides to make kebabs instead.
#5. Sauropods Could Bring the Thunder (Literally)
The apatosaurus was basically a slow-moving magnitude-4 earthquake. Paleontologist Philip Currie teamed up with Microsoft computer wizard Nathan Myrhvold to create a computer model of a living one, and together they found that the dinosaur's extremely long, tapered tail could be whipped at supersonic speeds -- a theory bolstered by the fact that the apatosaurus fossils they examined had an area of fused vertebrae near the end of the tail, indicating repeated stress. What does all this mean? Well, have you ever gone to a circus and seen a performer put on a show with a bullwhip? And do you remember the loud crack the whip made when snapped? That's because the loop of the whip breaks the sound barrier and produces a miniature sonic boom. Now, take that crack and amplify it by a factor of apatosaurus.
This basically entails hitting multiply over and over until the calculator breaks.
Of course, other paleontologists say the bullwhip theory is a bunch of bunk, and to those paleontologists we say, "Shhh, it's better this way. Some truths are not meant for man."
But just in case they're right, we feel obligated to supply you with equally awesome backup information: Brontomerus, rather cruelly translated to "thunder thighs," is a species of sauropod recently discovered in Utah. It had a massive bone in the upper part of its hip, and where there's a massive bone, there are also massive muscles attached to it. If apatosaurus was the dinosaurs' answer to Indy, brontomerus was their Pele: While most sauropods looked like defenseless walking buffets of exposed neck meat, scientists believe that if you were to call a brontomerus "thunder thighs" to its face, you could have found yourself on the receiving end of a full-bore dinosaur punt, pictured here, in the single best paleontological rendering ever commissioned.
Francisco Gascó, via Smithsonian
"I SAID I'M SENSITIVE ABOUT MY FIGURE!!"
#4. Crested Dinosaurs Were Musical
We've always dreamed that dinosaurs spoke in either blood-splintering roars or prim-and-proper British accents (our dreams are weird), but medical scans of fossil skulls have shown that parasaurolophus and its relatives had a more sophisticated repertoire. The bony crest on this hadrosaur's head formed a long resonating tube that connected to the nasal cavity -- kind of like a built-in didgeridoo that sounded off with a deep, somber note whenever the animal blew its nose. A team of researchers recreated the sweet dino-song of parasaurolophus via computer simulation:
The skull scans also showed that these bands of musical dinosaurs probably had the brainpower necessary to use these calls for communication (for mating, of course). We'll never know how advanced their musical talents might have been, but we're going to go out on a limb here and speculate that some lucky lady parasaurolophus was once serenaded by the fiercest saxophone solo this side of George Michael's Careless Whisper.