Tags: t rex | teeth | serrated | predator

T. Rex Teeth: Dinosaur's Serrated Chompers Made It Master Predator

Image: T. Rex Teeth: Dinosaur's Serrated Chompers Made It Master Predator
The skeleton of an adult Tyrannosaurus rex is illuminated as it is on display during The Munich Show exhibition for gems, jewelry, minerals, and fossils on October 24, 2014, in Munich, southern Germany. (SVEN HOPPE/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 29 Jul 2015 04:38 PM

T. rex's serrated teeth were the secret of the Tyrannosaurus' hunting prowess, according to research published this month.

Using microscopes to get a close-up view of the extinct species’ teeth, which range from 3 to 20 centimeters in length, researchers found that the dentine layers were specially arranged in the serrated part of each tooth, which allowed the carnivorous T. rex to more easily prey on other creatures, according to the study in Scientific Reports.

“This helped to enlarge the serration on the inside [of] the tooth,” said Dr. Kristin Brink, a University of Toronto Mississauga post-doctoral researcher, according to BBC News. “It also helped to strengthen it and prevented it from wearing away too quickly while the animal was eating. In general, meat-eating animals have less complex teeth than plant eaters as plant matter has to be chewed and ground up. It was surprising to find that theropods, which eat meat, had this complexity.”

Unlike a human, a T. rex could grow back one of his notably strong teeth after losing it, even though a tooth could take up to two years to grow back.

“What is so fascinating to me is that all animal teeth are made from the same building blocks, but the way the blocks fit together to form the structure of the tooth greatly affects how that animal processes food,” Brink said, according to UPI. “The hidden complexity of the tooth structure in theropods suggests that they were more efficient at handling prey than previously thought, likely contributing to their success.”

Professor Paul Barret, who works at London’s Natural History Museum, told BBC News "this topic has not previously been examined with this level of detail. It shows how, at a microscopic level, the teeth are adapted for their job."

T. rex dinosaurs are believed to have inhabited the earth about 65 million years ago. They most typically lived in North American forests in river valleys during the Cretaceous period, according to National Geographic. Fossil records suggest that a normal T. rex was about 40 feet long and 15 to 20 feet tall. In part due to its powerful teeth, some T. rexes could chew and swallow nearly 500 pounds of meat in just one bite, thus making it the perfect predator.

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T. rex's serrated teeth were the secret of the Tyrannosaurus' hunting prowess, according to research published this month.
t rex, teeth, serrated, predator
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2015-38-29
Wednesday, 29 Jul 2015 04:38 PM
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