The teeth of some theropods, such as the T rex, had deeply serrated, almost saw-like tooth structures, according to new research from the University of Toronto Mississauga, which made it easy for them to tear apart the flesh and bones of their prey.
“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,” said Kirstin Brink, researcher at the university.
Fossil samples from several museums were analysed using a powerful microscope and a synchrotron, a machine used to understand a substance’s chemical make up, and researchers were able to determine that these formidable teeth were uniquely common to carnivorous theropods.
Despite many other extinct species having a similar tooth structure, the crucial difference with theropod teeth is the special arrangement of the tissues inside the tooth, giving them the strength to bite through the flesh and bones of larger dinosaurs and reptiles.
“This brought about a developmental explanation for the tooth formation; the serrations are even more spectacular and permanent,” said Professor Robert Reisz, from the department of Biology at the University of Toronto Mississauga.
For those that fancy their chances with a modern day dinosaur the only remaining reptile with a similar sort of tooth structure is the Komodo dragon, which also preys on animals larger than itself – including humans!
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