Tyrannosaurus had a fleshy lip. It was covered in scales, the study described – ČT24 – Czech Television

When theropods had their mouths closed, not only were their teeth covered, but when their jaws were open, their teeth were probably only visible at their tips. American paleontologist Thomas Cullen, the author of the study, says that some experts previously believed that these carnivores had teeth too large to fit in their mouths. published in a scientific journal.

Therefore, scientists compared the skulls of dinosaurs and living reptiles and found that some large lizards had larger teeth than Tyrannosaurus rex. They still fit under their scaly lips, Cullen says. Experts have also found clues in the fossils about how the surface of the teeth wears down.

Practical adaptation

Co-author of the study, British paleontologist Mark Witton, says that in creatures such as crocodilians with teeth that protrude from the mouth, the exposed part wears out quickly. “It’s like someone took sandpaper from the edge of the tooth,” he describes. When researchers examined the tooth of Daspletosaurus, a theropod related to tyrannosaurs, they did not see similar damage.

This evidence and other findings from dinosaur anatomy make a good case for a dinosaur with covered teeth, says University of Maryland paleontologist Thomas Holtz, who was not involved in the study. “But we’re not talking about kissable lips,” she said. The lips of dinosaur predators would have been as thin and scaly as those of the Komodo dragon, the largest lizard living today.

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