When you imagine the Tyrannosaurus rex, the mighty predator of the dinosaurs, you’re probably imagining him with jutting, vicious rows of teeth to make up for his sad, stumpy little arms. Even adorable paper versions have row after row of saw-like fangs. After all, those were his primary tools for fighting and eating, so clearly he’d have big, visible teeth, right? Sadly, “if you’ve got it, flaunt it” is not a scientific principle, and one paleontologist is claiming that the king of the dinosaurs instead had thin little bird lips.
Teeth like a moist environment, and for land creatures, that tends to mean they have lips. Robert Reisz, a paleontologist working out of the University of Toronto Mississauga, argues the T. Rex was no exception. In other words, they’d look more like big velociraptors than the giant fearsome semi-crocodilic creatures we know and love from rear-view mirrors and for eating lawyers. Plus, those thin bird lips would go well with the feathers that some scientists believe many dinosaurs had.
This doesn’t mean, however, that the T. Rex was any less scary for being covered in plumage and adorned with some smackers. The species was still the apex predator we all treasure from our childhoods. It’s just that, perhaps, he looks a little different. But at least they didn’t do to the T. Rex what they did to the triceratops.