Sorry, “Jurassic Park” and makers everywhere.
Tyrannosaurus rex probably didn’t have those exposed serrated teeth.
The fearsome choppers of the most famous dinosaurs were probably covered with lips when the mouth was closed.
It’s not an open-and-shut case, but that’s the conclusion of a team of international researchers whose findings were published Thursday in the journal Sciences.
said Thomas Cullen, one of the study’s authors, an assistant professor of paleobiology at Auburn University.
“This differs from a lot of previous assumptions – that they are more like crocodiles, showing their teeth when their mouths are closed and they have no lips.”
To come to their conclusion, Cullen and the other researchers studied a group of different theropods from different museums and followed several lines of research.
They looked at the wear patterns on, for example, the enamel of the teeth of dinosaurs and crocodiles, the most closely related animals of theropods alive today.
“We did this because enamel, as their dentists tell some people, has to stay healthy and stay hydrated in order to stay healthy,” Cullen said. “If exposed to air for a long time, they become brittle, and are more likely to crack or become diseased.”
Because they don’t have lips, the enamel on the outsides of living crocodilian teeth wears off faster than the insides, Cullen said.
“When we looked at the thickness of the enamel inside and outside the teeth in large dinosaurs, they don’t show this pattern like a crocodile,” he said.
He said, “It shows a pattern like an animal with lips.” “The thickness of the enamel is the same on the outer side and on the inner side.”
Teeth too big for the mouth?
The researchers also studied whether the T-Rex’s teeth were too large to fit in a tyrannosaurus’ mouth, and compared them to a number of current lizards that have lips.
“Some of the monitor lizards today have very large teeth,” Colin said. “It seems almost inconceivable that those teeth could be completely covered by the lips and yet they are.
“And we found that that kind of relationship, that scale relationship, is nearly identical in theropod dinosaurs.”
As for how the findings will affect popular depictions of theropods, Cullen said the blockbuster “Jurassic Park” franchise “did a great job at the beginning of trying to stick to what was known at the time.”
“But it has since become a bit off-kilter with regard to any attempt to stick to an accurate portrayal of dinosaurs,” he added.
Thomas M. Cullen et al., Reconstructing the face of theropod dinosaurs and the importance of soft tissues in paleobiology, Sciences (2023). DOI: 10.1126/science.abo7877. www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.abo7877
© 2023 AFP
the quote: those protruding t-rex teeth? were covered with lips: a study (2023, April 2) Retrieved April 2, 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-03-protruding-rex-teeth-lips.html
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