Representative Image
Representative Image

Major flaw in 'Jurassic World' movies unveiled

ANI | Updated: Jun 21, 2018 21:03 IST

Washington D.C. [U.S.A.], Jun 21 (ANI): A major flaw in the 'Jurassic World' film franchise has been caught by experts, and it is not something to be taken lightly.
T-Rex is usually thought of as a fierce creature, baring its teeth, with tongue wildly stretching from its mouths like a giant and deranged lizards.
However, researchers from the University of Texas at Austin debunked this image. The study revealed that the dinosaurs' tongues were probably rooted to the bottoms of their mouths in a manner akin to alligators.
Researchers made the discovery by comparing the hyoid bones - the bones that support and ground the tongue - of modern birds and crocodiles with those of their extinct dinosaur relatives.
In addition to challenging depictions of dino tongues, the research proposed a connection on the origin of flight and an increase in tongue diversity and mobility.
"Tongues are often overlooked. But, they offer key insights into the lifestyles of extinct animals," said lead author Zhiheng Li.
The researchers made their discovery by comparing the hyoid bones of extinct dinosaurs, pterosaurs, and alligators to the hyoid bones and muscles of modern birds and alligator specimens.
Hyoid bones act as anchors for the tongue in most animals, but in birds, these bones can extend to the tip. Because extinct dinosaurs are related to crocodiles, pterosaurs and modern birds, comparing anatomy across these groups can help scientists understand the similarities and differences in tongue anatomy and how traits evolved through time and across different lineages.
The comparison process involved taking high-resolution images of hyoid muscles and bones from 15 modern specimens, including three alligators and 13 bird species as diverse as ostriches and ducks.
The fossil specimens, mostly from northeastern China, were scrutinised for the preservation of the delicate tongue bones and included small bird-like dinosaurs, as well as pterosaurs and a Tyrannosaurus rex.
The results indicated that hyoid bones of most dinosaurs were like those of alligators and crocodiles - short, simple, and connected to a tongue that was not very mobile.
Co-author and Jackson School Professor Julia Clarke said that these findings meant that dramatic reconstructions that show dinosaurs with tongues stretching out from between their jaws are wrong.
"They've been reconstructed the wrong way for a long time," Clarke said. "In most extinct dinosaurs their tongue bones are very short. And in crocodilians with similarly short hyoid bones, the tongue is totally fixed to the floor of the mouth."
The study appears in the journal PLOS ONE. (ANI)