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Did Lipped T. Rex’s Exist?

Benjamin Yurovsky | April 5, 2023

For the overwhelming majority of human history, Tyrannosaurus Rex’s were thought to have massive, protruding teeth. In fact, along with their short arms, the T. Rex’s defining feature was their sharp, large chompers. However, along with a team of scientists, Auburn paleobiologist Thomas Cullen determined that dinosaurs did in fact have lips that protected their teeth from the outside environment.

Why haven’t we known about these lipped dinosaurs?

When people envision what a dinosaur looks like, one of the most common images that comes to mind are the dinosaurs from the movie Jurassic Park. In this Steven Speilberg classic, these Mesozoic creatures are depicted as larger than life monsters, with a sharp and large set of teeth. Cullen, along with members of his team, attribute the general public’s false perception of dinosaurs to this movie franchise. 

How did Cullen determine the presence of lips?

To support his hypothesis that dinosaurs had teeth, Cullen analyzed the association between tooth size and skull length of living reptiles. In particular, the team found that the skull structure of iguanas and lizards is most similar to that of the T. Rex. The presence of foramina, which is a row of large holes above their teeth, allowed the Auburn paleobiologist to conclude that the T. Rex, did in fact, have a set of lips that protected these foramina from any alien elements.  


Phipps, K. (2018, June 22). How Jurassic Park changed the way movies looked at dinosaurs. Vulture. Retrieved April 4, 2023, from 

T. Rex had lips, New Study suggests. Science. (n.d.). Retrieved April 4, 2023, from 


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