A new study published in Scientific Reports on Tuesday revealed that the teeth of Tyrannosaurus rex (T. rex) were serrated like steak knife.
There were a number of dinosaurs that had similar teeth. There’s even a living creature called Komodo dragon that has teeth boasting significantly similar features. However, according to this newly published research, the teeth of T. rex belonged to a class of their own. Researchers carrying out the study said that they found that those similarities were largely superficial.
T. rex’s teeth as well as those of its close family members appear to be formed of a complex tissue structure. Building blocks of the teeth of these creatures were the same as those of other dinos. However, it seems that theropods, T rex’s kin, had the blocks arranged together in a better way. Theropods are particularly famous for being the biggest land predator in our planet’s history.
During the study, researchers examined a tiny, crack-like feature on the serrations’ bottom. This feature can be found only when a tooth gets cut open. You will not find any such feature in any other animal boasting serrated teeth.
A previous study suggests that those cracks are results of regular use. To put it otherwise, they were basically stress cracks and were formed when the dinos tried to chew hard bones. Formation of the cracks prevented shattering of the entire tooth.
According to this new study, the teeth of theropod had the cracks for some reason. After analyzing teeth that were yet to erupt, scientists came to know that there were cracks beneath the serrations right from the beginning. Here, it must be mentioned that dinosaurs keep on shedding and producing teeth all through their adulthood.
University of Toronto’s Kristin Brink, the lead author of the study, said that this strange structure actually represents a special tooth tissue arrangement which augments the serration’s size and strengthens the tooth to ensure it doesn’t wear away quickly.
According to Brink, these cracks allowed the creature’s teeth to last longer in its jaw and prevented development of gaps during formation of a new tooth. As a result, the dinos could bite more efficiently and pierce through their prey’s flesh more easily.