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Has T. Rex Lost Its Bite? It Might Be Wrong to Threaten ‘Jurassic Park’


Strange but true

April 2, 2023 | 8:44 p.m

NEW YORK – Tyrannosaurus Rex is often shown baring huge, sharp teeth, like the ferocious creature found in “Jurassic Park.”

But new research suggests that this classic picture may be wrong.

He infers that the teeth on T. rex and other large theropods were covered by scaly lips The study was published Thursday in the journal Science.

Scientists found that the dinosaur’s teeth didn’t protrude when its mouth was closed, and even with a wide-open bite, you might only see the tips.

The research is the latest in a long back-and-forth about the shape of dinosaurs’ mouths.

Recent photos show large teeth protruding from the dinosaur’s jaws, even when they were closed. Some believe the predators’ teeth were too big to fit in their mouths, said study author Thomas Cullen, a paleontologist at Auburn University in Alabama.

When researchers compared the skulls of living dinosaurs and reptiles, they found that was not the case.

Some large monitor lizards have larger teeth than Altis Rex compared to the size of their skull, Cullen said, and they can still fit under a set of scaly lips.

The scientists also found clues in the wear pattern on the tooth surfaces.

For a creature like a crocodile that has teeth sticking out of its mouth, the exposed part of it wears down quickly — “as if someone took a sander along with the tooth,” said another study author Mark Whitton, a University of England scientist. Portsmouth.

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The study finds that it is likely that T. rex does not have visible teeth as it does in “Jurassic Park”.
© Universal / courtesy Everett Collection

But when the researchers analyzed a tooth from Daspletosaurus, a close relative of T. rex, they found that it was in good condition and didn’t show the uneven damage pattern.

University of Maryland paleontologist Thomas Holtz, who was not involved in the study, said that with this and other evidence from dinosaur anatomy, the study makes a good case for transparent dinosaurs.

However, “we’re not talking about receptive lips,” he noted—they would be thin and scaly like those of the Komodo dragon, a large lizard.

This isn’t the first time our depiction of dinosaurs has been called into question: other research has shown that Tyrannosaurus rex was more curved than we thought, and that the ferocious Velociraptor may have sported feathers.

Most of what we know about dinosaurs comes from their bones, but it can be difficult to get clear answers about soft tissues like skin, which are not usually preserved as fossils.

A new study concludes that Tyrannosaurus rex likely had lips that covered its teeth.
Mark B. Wheaton via AP
Illustration of what a T. rex’s mouth would have looked like.
Mark B. Wheaton via AP

Adding lips may make the dinosaurs look less ferocious, Wheaton said, but it also makes them more realistic.

“You don’t really see a monster,” he said. “You see an animal.”

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