Tyrannosaur Teeth in your Kitchen Drawer

University of Toronto study on Tyrannosaur teeth show they are shaped like steak knives
This is a detail of a thin section through the tooth of a large theropod, Gorgosaurus, from Alberta. The teeth were serrated like steak knives for easy dismembering of other dinosaurs. (Drawing by Danielle Dufault)

Chomping through Prey.

Tyrannosaurs belong to a group of meat eating dinosaurs called theropods. Theropods ate pretty much anything with meat. Insectivores, herbivores and even other carnivores.

All that meat means lots of bone. How did they chomp through bone?


Teeth! They are very much in style!

Tyrannosaur teeth
A boy looks inside the skull of a Tyrannosaurus Rex replica. REUTERS/Maxi Jonas/Files

Tyrannosaur teeth were tough. Real tough. That’s because it could take up to 2 whole years to grow back a lost tooth! If they easily fell out the Tyrannosaur would run out of teeth. With no teeth to cut through the meat of its prey it would go hungry. To keep that from happening, their teeth were heavily reinforced. With deep, large serrations they were less likely to get broken or worn down. That means more time cutting through flash and bone for the next meal.


Tyrannosaur Teeth in your Kitchen Drawer.

A recent study took a closer look at Tyrannosaur teeth. A much closer look. Guess what they found. They found serrations similar to a steak knife. These allowed the Tyrannosaurs to crush bone with their teeth. That explains why chunks of bone have been found in their fossilized dung. It also explains why their teeth were found on fossilized prey.

Tyrannosaur teeth up close
University of Toronto researcher Kirstin Brink displays the tooth and thin section of the large theropod Carcharodontosaurus. (Courtesy Kirstin Brink)


There is only one animal on the planet with similar teeth. Can you guess who?

It’s a lizard that reaches up to 10 feet long and is often confused with a dragon.

That’s right, the Komodo Dragon. Although it’s teeth evolved separately from tyrannosaur teeth, it also has steak knife worthy teeth to rip through the flesh and bone of it’s prey! Think about that at dinner tonight!