Tyrannosaurus Rex Were Sensitive Lovers That Used Their Noses For Foreplay
What do you think of when you think of Tyrannosaurus rex? Do you think of one of the most fearsome killing machines that has ever walked the Earth? But did you ever think that the T-Rex had a romantic side?
The massive 40-foot-long apex predators that weighed 9-tons enjoyed rubbing their noses together in a sort of dino foreplay.
Paleontologists recently discovered unusually well-preserved fossils of the Daspletosaurus horneri (Horner’s frightful lizard) in Montana. D. horneri is a member of the tyrannosaur family, but lived before the T-Rex did (74 million years ago) and was smaller than it’s cousin (30-feet-long).
From the Independent:
The US researchers wrote in the journal Scientific Reports: “In courtship, tyrannosaurids might have rubbed their sensitive faces together as a vital part of pre-copulatory play.”
Scientists believe the dinosaur and other tyrannosaurs including T. rex wore a mask of large, flat scales, with regions of tough and protective amour-like skin around the snout and jaws.
Strikingly, the hard surface of the snout was penetrated by numerous small nerve openings, or “foramina”.
These would have allowed hundreds of branches of the trigeminal nerve to access the surface of the snout, turning the dinosaur’s whole face into a super-sensitive third “hand”.
A similar arrangement is seen today in crocodiles and alligators, which have thousands of tiny sensitive bumps called integumentary sensory organs (ISOs) around their jaws.
Lead scientist Dr Thomas Carr, from Carthage College in Wisconsin, said: “Given that the foramina are identical in tyrannosaurs indicates that they had super-sensitive skin as well.”