Now that yet another Jurassic Park movie is in theaters and has very big success, it’s the perfect time for scientists to come up with various ways to prove that dinosaurs were not exactly how we see them in movies. According to a new study, which the journal PLOS One recently published, most dinosaurs, including the infamous T. rex, were not able to stick out their tongues. This is weird because most reptiles today can do that. In order to reach this conclusion, researchers analyzed the mouth anatomy of certain extinct dinosaur species. Then, they compared it to their closest living relatives today, like alligators.
What they found amazed them. It seems that contrary to the common belief induced by modern depictions of dinosaurs, most of them were not able to stick their tongues out like snakes. They mostly had hyoid bones which closely resembled those of gators, and they keep their tongues stuck in one place. According to Julia Clarke, an author of this study, for a long time, experts have reconstructed these hyoid bones the wrong way. Most extinct dinosaurs had very short tongue bones. At the same time, in crocodilians, the tongue is stuck in place to the floor of the mouth.
Dinosaurs had immobile tongues, contrary to the common belief
What’s even more interesting is that not all extinct dinosaur species had immobile tongues. Some of them, like bird-like dinosaurs or flying reptiles had tongues that closely resembled those of modern birds. It may all be a factor that determined an evolutionary adaptation. Lead author Zhizheng Li says that when you cannot use your hands to catch prey, you turn to your mouth. This is probably what happened to those species too, and they evolved accordingly. Now, experts want to see how birds’ mouths and throats adapted over time. Also, how they ended up looking like they do today.
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