T. Rex may have had lips (and looked less scary)
March 31, 2023 - In movies such as “Jurassic Park”, Tyrannosaurus rex is usually depicted baring huge, dagger-like teeth, but new research suggests that this portrayal is most likely incorrect.
A new study published in the journal Science, concludes that the teeth of Tyrannosaurus rex, and other large theropods, were most likely covered by scaly lips – therefore not sticking out of their mouths when closed or even wide open.
Previously, some experts believed the predators’ teeth were just too big to fit in their mouths. But by comparing skulls of dinosaurs to those of modern day lizards researchers have found some large monitor lizards have bigger teeth than T. rex compared to their skull size, and yet still manage to fit them under scaly lips.
Further evidence shows that the teeth of crocodilians (that includes crocodiles and alligators) and which stick out of their mouths, get worn quickly on exposed surfaces rather like they’ve been sanded down. But when analysing a tooth from a Daspletosaurus, a relative of T. rex, researchers found it was in good condition and didn’t show any uneven damage patterns.
The report’s authors make a good case for lipped dinosaurs, which would have made them look less ferocious than Hollywood would like, with mouths reminiscent of the Indonesian Komodo dragon – less monster, more animal.