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tyrant teeth (was RE: _T. rex_ debate in the newspaper)

> From: owner-dinosaur@usc.edu [mailto:owner-dinosaur@usc.edu]On Behalf Of
> Paamy
> I doubt that T. Rex would have been capable of biting through the neck
> vertebrae of it's prey, as this would almost certainly have broken its
> teeth. Rex teeth are designed for cutting gashes out of prey

Actually, "tearing" rather than "cutting" is more appropriate here: the
teeth of tyrannosaurids are anything but blade-like.  Furthermore, they have
much higher resistance to torsion and compression than typical theropod
teeth of the same height (or same fore-aft length).  Additionally, it is not
at all uncommon to find tyrannosaurid teeth with wear facets on the tips,
indicating that tooth-bone contact was not a rare happening.

> and leaving
> large debilitating wounds, and rounded teeth are much better at removing
> large amounts of flesh from the victim in one bite, leaving a 'trough'
> shaped wound, than pointed slashing teeth. Why would Raptors have needed
> their teeth so much when they had sickle claws anyhow.
To eat.  (This is like asking why cats have teeth if they have claws!).

                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): 301-405-0796