Tyrannosaurus rex was not just a big beast with a big bite but it had nerve sensors in the very tips of its jaw that helped it top detect its prey, according to a new study published in the peer-reviewed journal Historical Biology.
The scientists said that their research showed that the nerves in the mandible (an area of the jaw) of T. rex is more complexly distributed than any other dinosaur studied to date, and comparable to those of modern-day crocodiles and tactile-foraging birds, which have extremely keen senses.
NERVES MORE COMPLEX
Noting that Trannosaurus rex was a more fearsome predator than previously believed, Lead author Dr Soichiro Kawabe (Institute of Dinosaur Research at Fukui Prefectural University, Japan) said that the findings showed the nerves in the mandible of the T. rex more complexly distributed than any other dinosaurs studied to date. Their jaw was comparable to modern-day crocodiles and tactile-foraging birds, which have extremely keen senses, the professor added.
Kawabe said that this jaw specific showed that T. rex was sensitive to slight differences in material and movement. It also indicated the possibility that the dinosaur was able to recognize the different parts of their prey and eat them differently depending on the situation.
The scientist said that the finding was contrary to the perception that T. rex was insensitive around its mouth and put everything and anything into its mouth. Dr Kawabe and the team joined by Dr Soki Hattori Assistant Professor at the Institute of Dinosaur Research, used computed tomography (CT) to analyse and reconstruct the distribution neurovascular c5 author said that they also came across neuro-vascular canals with complex branching in the lower jaw of Tyrannosaurus, especially in the anterior region of the dentary. They also assume that a similarly complex branching neurovascular canal would also be present in its upper jaw. He said that the neuro-vascular canal with branching pattern as that of the extant crocodiles and ducks suggested that the trigeminal nervous system in Tyrannosaurus probably functioned as a sensitive sensor in the snout. He also noted that the sensitivity of the snout in T. Rex might not have been as enhanced as that of the crocodiles because Tyrannosaurus lacks the thick neural tissue occupying the neuro-vascular canal unlike extant crocodiles.
The authors also state that tyrannosaurids jaw tips were also adapted to perform a series of behaviours with fine movements including nest construction, parental care, and intraspecific communication