Did Tyrannosaurus Rex have lips to hide its menacing teeth?
A new study reveals that although we usually see a tyrannosaurus described as a dinosaur with menacing teeth, the truth is that, like modern Komodo dragons, they would have had soft tissue extended around them. lips, therefore, They were going to hide their teeth.
Not very fierce to look at
The work challenges common and conventional reconstructions of how these large predators came to life, providing a view of these dinosaurs with Scaly, lizard-like lips cover and seal their mouths.
This is the conclusion of a recent investigation published in the journal Science, which investigated the teeth and bones of reptiles and dinosaurs, present and past. Finally settled a historical debate about fossils.
“Dinosaur artists have come and gone with lips since we began recovering dinosaurs during the 1800s, but lipless dinosaurs became more prominent in the 1980s and 1990s. Then they became deeply immersed in popular culture through films and documentaries: Jurassic Park and its sequels. , walking with dinosaurs, etc.,” explains paleontologist and paleontologist Mark Whitton of the University of Portsmouth in the UK and co-author of the research.
Logically, soft tissues such as the lip or an internal organ, object to the problem of the difficulty of petrification. The researchers compared the skull length and tooth size of various living dinosaurs and reptiles. They also examined patterns of tooth wear. The result indicates the presence of lips covering his strong teeth. Maybe these lips weren’t muscular, Like those of mammals, but it would have done its job.
Among the arguments put forward, theropods are known to have teeth Relatively thin enamel This continuous exposure can lead to Dryness and erosion of the teeth. Hence the value of its existence. What’s more, the shape of the skull and animated computer models of the skull also show that the lower jaw t-rex He would have difficulty closing completely without the lips.
“Interestingly, there has never been a specialized study or discovery that has led to this change, and to a large extent, it likely reflects a preference for a fierce new aesthetic rather than a change in scientific thinking,” the experts wrote. “We are changing this popular representation by covering their teeth with the lips of a lizard.”
Were we wrong?
Strange in all this is not only illustrations, photographs, films and documents in general tyrannosaurus rex He might have been showing us the wrong idea about this dinosaur, but we have to realize that The possible presence of lips may change the way we think some dinosaurs ate. Come to think of it, the authors point out, almost all terrestrial vertebrates have lip-like coverings for their teeth.
“Some say we have no idea what dinosaurs looked like other than basic features like the number of fingers and toes. But our study, and others like it, show that We have better and better control over many aspects of the dinosaur’s appearance.”Wheaton concludes.
It would be nice to find a stuffed T-rex with face wipes to solve this mystery. Until then, we live on hypotheses.
Thomas M Cullen and others. 2023. Theropod facial restoration and the importance of soft tissues in paleobiology. Science 379 (6639): 1348-1352; doi: 10.1126/science.abo7877
TD Carr et al. A new species of tyrannosaurus may be more sensitive than one might expect from a giant scaly carnivore. Scientific reports. Published online March 30, 2017. doi: 10.1038 / srep44942
Card. Varicio, d. Sedelmayer, J. et al. A new dinosaur with evidence of anesthesia and a crocodile-like facial sensory system. Sci Rep 7, 44942 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/srep44942
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