T-Rex couldn't extend their tongues, despite Hollywood depictions - report

  • 21/06/2018
This is worse than when they made zombies run.
This is worse than when they made zombies run. Photo credit: Pixabay

Researchers say T-Rex weren't able to extend their tongues, despite Hollywood movies depicting them doing so. 

"Those images in Jurassic Park of the T-Rex sticking its tongue out like a lizard as it prepares to devour its prey are probably wrong," University of Edinburgh palaeontologist Stephen Brusatte told the Guardian. 

Mr Busatte has welcomed research published in the journal Plos One which explored whether dinosaurs were able to move their tongues around, as depicted in the Jurassic Park films. 

The study's authors, palaeontologist Julia Clarke of the University of Texas and scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, looked at dinosaur fossils and explored a set of bony structures known as the hyoid that fixes the tongue in the mouth, the Guardian reports. 

These hyoids were compared to those of extinct flying reptiles called pterosaurs, alongside the tongue anatomies of living birds and reptiles such as alligators, emus and pheasants. 

The researchers found that some dinosaurs that were evolutionarily similar to modern birds could move their tongues due to a Y-shaped hyoid. But the majority of dinosaurs had hyoids similar to those of alligators which are short, meaning their tongues are fixed to the floor of their mouths. 

This means that dinosaurs such as T-Rex probably couldn't move their tongues around, the researchers claim. Predators like alligators don't do a lot of chewing, instead tearing at flesh and gulping it down, which could suggest that T-Rex did the same because of the similarity in their hyoids. 

"It turns out that most dinosaurs have the very simple hyoid bones of modern crocodiles, which anchor a tongue that is pretty much glued to the floor of the mouth," Mr Brusatte told the Guardian. 

"A cousin of T-Rex called Yutyrannus has this type of hyoid bone, as do almost all other dinosaurs, so it's reasonable to infer that T-Rex did as well."