Tyrannosaurus Rex is one of the most famous dinosaurs—even people who aren’t interested in dinosaurs can name this one, often by his affectionate diminutive “T-Rex.” And thanks to “Jurassic World” and the previous “Jurassic Park” movies, we’ve got to see the fearsome beast and its even more fearsome teeth in action. And now we understand even better what made these teeth so terrifying. Kristin Brink, a researcher for University of Toronto Mississauga has recently discovered that several cracks in T-Rex teeth were not due to wear as many scientists had thought, but were actually some fearsome engineering that increased the kill factor on this eating machine.
T-Rex teeth are very different from human’s in that they are serrated. Picture a nine-inch steak knife. Now multiply that by sixty (yes, you did hear me correctly) and place them in a pair of four foot long jaws. These teeth are specifically made for ripping up meat, the T-Rex’s primary diet. Scientists have noticed that there are several little crack-like features towards the bottom of every serration, which scientists thought was related to wear. Dr. Brink discovered that these cracks are present during every stage of life for these ancient carnivores. Dr. Brink theorized that these cracks are actually beneficial to T-Rex as they help improve the lifespan of the teeth and keep the serration sharp for longer periods of time.
Because humans and T-Rex have very different diet, we would not want to go about putting tiny cracks in our teeth to increase their life-span. Our teeth are more suited for our omnivorous diet. We have sharp canines for keeping food in place and incisors which help cut the food into smaller pieces. This is, unfortunately, probably as close as we will get to T-Rex teeth. Our molars are more similar to those found in herbivores and help grind and crush food material. Though one ancient herbivore, the Triceratops, has been recently discovered to have very complex teeth that have five layers to them. These teeth could easily put our molars to shame, and can be most closely compared to horse and bison teeth.
What can we take away from this? Clearly dinosaur teeth are larger and more complicated than our own. Though we have the added benefit of being able to chew both meat and vegetation, it is important to know your limits when it comes to your teeth. Maybe it is not the best idea to chew on that ice cube, and remember your teeth aren’t suited for chewing on wood like a beaver’s or scraping rock like a limpet’s.
Luckily we have one thing the dinosaurs did not have: dentists. If you have found cracks in your own teeth contact us today! We would be more than happy to fix those teeth so you can get back to watching Jurassic World with your kids!
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