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RE: Suchomimus Photos Posted Online

> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-dinosaur@usc.edu [mailto:owner-dinosaur@usc.edu]On Behalf Of
> Rob Gay
> Sent: Thursday, June 29, 2000 5:27 PM
> To: dinoland@mailcity.com; dinosaur@usc.edu
> Subject: Re: Suchomimus Photos Posted Online
> I must say that I enjoyed looking at those pictures. Quite interesting.
> However, something on one of the skull pages (I believe it was
> the T.rex vs
> Suchomimus page) got me thinking. It's pointed out that Sucho's
> teeth were
> much more slender than Mr. Tyrant lizard king. Obviously, slender
> teeth are
> an advantage for a fish-catching lifestyle. However, is it
> possible that the
> teeth of Tyrannosaurus could have not been well adapted for
> cutting through
> flesh and tendon. I have a cast of a Tyrannosaur tooth, so I examined it,
> briefly. Even at the tip of the tooth, it is still the width of a AA
> battery. This does not seem the best device for cutting. Width=increased
> surface area. Increased surface area=fewer lbs/square inch. This
> means that
> the thing trying to be cut will be less likely to be cut. The
> tendon would
> wrap around the tooth, instead of being sliced by the tooth.
> However, it seems like such a massive tooth would be good at
> crushing things
> (skulls, bones, etc.). However, these are just the thoughts of a poor
> Geology major who opted to take geology instead of physics his
> senior year
> in high school.

Actually, both myself and Greg Erickson (among others) have addressed
various aspects to this idea.  Yes, the teeth of _T. rex_ are about probably
the least steak knife-like objects ever to be compared to steak knives.
However, their extremely broad cross-section is potentially much more
resistant to torsional forces or compressional forces than a typical
theropod tooth of the same fore-aft length.

Possible (and not mutually exclusive) advantages of this tooth type are
crushing; better resistence to potential accidental contact with bone (as in
cat canines, for example); and a mode of obtaining and manipulating prey by
grasping and tearing rather than vertical slicing.

Hope this helps.

                Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
                Vertebrate Paleontologist
Department of Geology           Director, Earth, Life & Time Program
University of Maryland          College Park Scholars
                College Park, MD  20742
Phone:  301-405-4084    Email:  tholtz@geol.umd.edu
Fax (Geol):  301-314-9661       Fax (CPS-ELT): 301-314-7843>