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.

Related Articles


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 November 21, 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 November 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Fossils & Ruins News

Friday, November 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

US Returns Looted Artifacts to Thailand

US Returns Looted Artifacts to Thailand

AFP (Nov. 19, 2014) — The United States has returns over 500 vases, bowls, axes, and other ancient artifacts mostly from the Ban Chiang archaeological site which were illegally looted from Thailand decades ago. Duration: 01:13 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How To Search Through Every Public Tweet Sent Since 2006

How To Search Through Every Public Tweet Sent Since 2006

Newsy (Nov. 19, 2014) — Twitter has announced improvements to its search index that allow users to search through every public tweet sent since its inception in 2006. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Professor Unlocks the Mystery of Paintings

Professor Unlocks the Mystery of Paintings

AP (Nov. 19, 2014) — Richard Johnson, a computer and engineering professor at Cornell University, is using technology to uncover mysteries about the age and authenticity of historic paintings by artists like Johannes Vermeer and Vincent Van Gogh. (Nov. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Napoleon Memorabilia to Be Sold at Auction

Napoleon Memorabilia to Be Sold at Auction

AFP (Nov. 14, 2014) — Napoleon's personal possessions, including his iconic cocked hat, are being auctioned off this weekend at a special sale at Fontainebleau Castle. Buyers are expected to bid hundreds of thousands or even millions of euros. Duration: 01:13 Video provided by AFP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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