T. Rex Had Vicious Teeth, the Better to Shred You With
This feature is only seen in the Komodo dragon today
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 29, 2015 12:12 PM CDT
A cast of a Tyrannosaurus rex discovered in Montana greets visitors as they enter the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, Tuesday, April 15, 2014. The original fossilized bones of this...   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(Newser) – The Komodo dragon is the only known creature on the planet today to boast teeth that are serrated, like a jagged-edged steak knife. But now researchers have discovered that the mighty T. rex not only sported serrated teeth, but also secret folds hidden toward the bottom of those teeth that both increased the size and strength of the serration and allowed the beast to shred the flesh of its prey, reports the Washington Post. "This means that teeth could last longer in the jaw, preventing gaps from occurring in the tooth row while a new tooth is developing, allowing for a more efficient bite when piercing through the flesh of its meal," says the lead author of the study, which appears this week in the journal Scientific Reports.

Her team investigated the teeth of theropods, a group of primarily carnivorous and bipedal dinosaurs like T. rex and Velociraptor, to sort out why they were cracked at the bottom. It turns out the mysterious structures were deep folds that helped the mighty beasts tear apart their prey. (Previous theories suggested these structures were signs of wear and tear.) "The structure is actually in all theropods, and it's not actually a crack," the lead researcher tells LiveScience. "It's really cool that such a small, little change in the tooth structure, a small arrangement of the dental tissues, could completely change the ways these animals are living." (As if the teeth weren't enough, the T. rex's bite was likely the equivalent of this huge animal sitting on you.)