Toronto: The killer machine T Rex and its fellow theropod dinosaurs were successful predators partly due to a unique, deeply serrated tooth structure, new research shows.
This saw-like structure allowed them to easily tear through the flesh and bone of other dinosaurs.
The team from University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) determined that this tooth structure is uniquely common to carnivorous theropods such as T. rex and Allosaurus, and even one of the first theropods called Coelophysis.
The deep serrations made them much more efficient at chomping on bones and ripping flesh of larger animals and reptiles.
It also allowed them to prosper for about 165 million years as fearsome, top predators.
“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,” Brink noted.
The researchers also found that the unique arrangement of tooth tissues did not develop in response to these carnivores chewing hard materials.
They determined this by examining samples of dinosaur teeth that had not yet broken through the gums, as well as samples from mature dinosaur teeth.
Unlike humans, reptiles grow new teeth throughout their lifetimes.
The only reptile living today that has the same superficial tooth structure is the Komodo dragon, native to Indonesia.
It too preys on larger animals, said the study appeared in the journal Scientific Reports.