Science

Tyrannosaurus rex could not stick out its tongue

Tyrannosaurus rex could not stick out its tongue”

Reconstructions of dinosaurs in museums, artwork and film often depict the creatures roaring with their tongues moving wildly in their mouths.

Researchers said this classic dramatic image now needs an overhaul as it is no longer scientifically accurate.

The huge beast couldn't stick out its tongue like today's lizards and birds, say scientists studying dinosaur neck bones - and instead had a mouth more similar to an alligator's.

The researchers proposed that taking to the skies could have led to new ways of feeding that could be tied to diversity and mobility in tongues.

Researchers were curious if all those dinosaur depictions were accurate, so they made a decision to find out how their tongues actually looked like. But, they offer key insights into the lifestyles of extinct animals, ' said Dr Li.

When comparing the scans and images, researchers found that the hyoid bones of most dinosaurs were very similar to those found in alligators and crocodiles. They were particularly looking at the hyoid bones, which anchor the tongue to the body.

The pictures of an enormous Tyrannosaurus Rex in front of a horrified victim, with its big opened mouth its tongue out is a fiction mostly presented in movies because, in reality, Tyrannosaurus Rex couldn't stick out its tongue, as reported a study issued in PLOS ONE journal, cited by ScienceDaily.

The results revealed that most dinosaurs had a short and simple hyoid bone connected to a tongue that was not very mobile, like modern alligators. "They've been reconstructed the wrong way for a long time", study co-author and Jackson School Professor Julia Clarke said in a press release announcing the new research. Hummingbird tongues, for example, are flexible micropumps that are so long that they spool around the bird's skull when retracted, like a tape measure.

"In crocodilians with similarly short hyoid bones, the tongue is totally fixed to the floor of the mouth", Clarke added. They think the range of shapes could be related to flight ability, or in the case of flightless birds such as ostriches and emus, evolved from an ancestor that could fly.

What Did Researchers Discover About Dinosaurs And Tongues?

However, pterosaurs, namely flying dinosaurs, had more complex hyoid bones, just like birds.

As birds evolved, they had to adjust to losing hands and arms in place of wings, and tongues could have evolved as a way to compensate for this loss in agility.

"If you can't use a hand to manipulate prey, the tongue may become much more important to manipulate food", said Li. Hyoid similarities between dinosaurs and crocodilians suggest that their tongues resembled each others' as well, so dinosaurs were probably not capable of the tongue-stretching feats exhibited by birds, Clarke said. "We take birds for granted, but they have insane tongues", Julia Clarke, a paleontologist at Austin and one of the authors of the study, tells Davis.

However, the fossil record haven't yet pinned down when these changes to the windpipe occurred.



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