Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

T. rex's killer smile revealed

Date:
March 18, 2012
Source:
University of Alberta
Summary:
One of the most prominent features of life-size models of Tyrannosaurus rex is its fearsome array of flesh-ripping, bone-crushing teeth. New research shows that the T. rex’s front teeth gripped and pulled, while the teeth along the side of the jaw punctured and tore flesh.

Miriam Reichel’s research shows that the T. rex’s front teeth gripped and pulled, while the teeth along the side of the jaw punctured and tore flesh.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Alberta

One of the most prominent features of life-size models of Tyrannosaurus rex is its fearsome array of flesh-ripping, bone-crushing teeth.

Until recently, most researchers who studied the carnivore's smile only noted the varying sizes of its teeth. But University of Alberta paleontologist Miriam Reichel discovered that beyond the obvious size difference in each tooth family in T. rex's gaping jaw, there is considerable variation in the serrated edges of the teeth.

"The varying edges, or keels, not only enabled T. rex's very strong teeth to cut through flesh and bone," says Reichel, "the placement and angle of the teeth also directed food into its mouth."

Reichel analyzed the teeth of the entire tyrannosaurid family of meat-eating dinosaurs and found T. rex had the greatest variation in tooth morphology or structure. The dental specialization was a great benefit for a dinosaur whose preoccupation was ripping other dinosaurs apart.

Reichel's research shows that the T. rex's front teeth gripped and pulled, while the teeth along the side of the jaw punctured and tore flesh. The teeth at the back of the mouth did double duty: not only could they slice and dice chunks of prey, they forced food to the back of the throat.

Reichel says her findings add strength to the classification of tyrannosaurids as heterodont animals, which are animals with teeth adapted for different functions depending on their position in the mouth.

One surprising aspect of T. rex teeth, common to all tyrannosaurid's, is that they weren't sharp and dagger-like. "They were fairly dull and wide, almost like bananas," said Reichel. "If the teeth were flat, knife-like and sharp, they could have snapped if the prey struggled violently when T. rex's jaws first clamped down."

Reichel's research was published in The Canadian Journal of Earth Science.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Alberta. The original article was written by Brian Murphy. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Miriam Reichel, Hans-Dieter Sues. The variation of angles between anterior and posterior carinae of tyrannosaurid teeth. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, 2012; 49 (3): 477 DOI: 10.1139/e11-068

Cite This Page:

University of Alberta. "T. rex's killer smile revealed." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 March 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120318100451.htm>.
University of Alberta. (2012, March 18). T. rex's killer smile revealed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120318100451.htm
University of Alberta. "T. rex's killer smile revealed." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120318100451.htm (accessed September 18, 2014).

Share This



More Fossils & Ruins News

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Egypt Denies Claims Oldest Pyramid Damaged in Restoration

Egypt Denies Claims Oldest Pyramid Damaged in Restoration

AFP (Sep. 17, 2014) Egypt's antiquities minister denied Tuesday claims that the Djoser pyramid, the country's first, had been damaged during restoration work by a company accused of being unqualified to do such work. Duration: 00:56 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
King Richard III's Painful Cause Of Death Revealed

King Richard III's Painful Cause Of Death Revealed

Newsy (Sep. 17, 2014) King Richard III died in the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, and now researchers examining his skull think they know how. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Federal researchers are exploring more than a dozen underwater sites where they believe ships sank in the treacherous waters west of San Francisco in the decades following the Gold Rush. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Museum Traces Fragments of Star-Spangled Banner

Museum Traces Fragments of Star-Spangled Banner

AP (Sep. 12, 2014) As the Star-Spangled Banner celebrates its bicentennial, Smithsonian curators are still uncovering fragments of the original flag that inspired Francis Scott Key's poem. (Sept. 12) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins