When we think of the word “dinosaur,” lots of people will most likely imagine the T-Rex — the behemoth that’s portrayed to annihilate almost everything that crosses its path. The creature is commonly illustrated with razor-sharp fangs and a frightening roar. That’s why it might come as a surprise to some that T-Rex teeth may not have had exposed teeth at all — the dinosaur may actually have had lips to cover their choppers.
T-Rex Teeth Needed to be Protected By Lips
One of our favorite dinosaurs didn’t look the way we imagined them to be — T-Rex teeth are now said to have been covered by lips. A journal by Science recently stated that the Tyrannosaurus rex may have had lizard-like lips to cover its fangs and protect them from wear and tear.
Unlike present-day reptiles like the American alligator — that go through about 3,000 teeth throughout their lives — the T-Rex only needed to replace a single tooth about every 2 years. This suggests that their teeth were protected by some form of tissue. And that’s what paleontologists and researchers from various universities hypothesized when they analyzed skull structures of various lizards and fossils of about 20 theropod dinosaurs.
One of the dinosaur fossils and teeth they studied was the Daspletosaurus — a close relative of the T-Rex. They used a Daspletosaurus tooth and embedded it in resin. The scientists then cut through it with a diamond-studded saw. When they realized that the enamel lacked degradation, that’s when the researchers were further convinced of their theory (of the T-Rex having lips). Because, according to them, had the tooth been exposed to air back then — without tissue to protect it — the wear and tear would have been more visible.
Mark Witton (the study’s co-author) told Wall Street Journal, “It is time that we have a big shake-up of what we think these dinosaurs looked like in wider culture,” he added, “We’ve really put some new data on the table that I think makes it now pretty indefensible to have the goofy-looking theropods with their teeth hanging out.”
6 Other T-Rex Myths
Not even the experts can 100% conclude what any of the dinosaurs accurately looked like. However, there have been a few misconceptions that can most likely be debunked by them now.
Here are a few of them:
- T-Rex didn’t exist during the Jurassic period (200-145 million years ago). They lived during the later years of the Cretaceous period (145-66 million years ago).
- Nobody knows what the real color of the T-Rex is.
- It was impossible for T-Rex to run as fast as they’re depicted to — they wouldn’t have been able to withstand their weight as well as support their huge tails.
- T-Rex most likely had feathers as opposed to reptilian scales.
- The T-Rex may have been an apex predator, but it most probably wasn’t an erratic and merciless beast — it simply did what any other creature (of the past and present) did in order to survive.
Sorry, Steven Spielberg and Jurassic Park fans! — researchers recently discovered that T-Rex teeth may have been covered with lips. But it’s not like any of us will like the T-Rex any less. It will always remain one of the most popular dinosaurs out there!
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