T. rex would have needed a way to cool down. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 David Monniaux
It turns out that Tyrannosaurus rex had a rather unique way of keeping itself from overheating.
It was one of the most ferocious predators ever to walk the face of the Earth, yet despite its infamy, there is still a great deal about the tyrant lizard that scientists have yet to understand.
Now however, one such enigma - that of the two holes situated on the top of its skull - has finally been solved thanks to the University of Missouri's Casey Holliday and colleagues who used thermal imaging to investigate similar holes found on the heads of modern day alligators at a farm in Florida.
"An alligator's body heat depends on its environment," said study co-author Kent Vliet.
"We noticed when it was cooler and the alligators are trying to warm up, our thermal imaging showed big hot spots in these holes in the roof of their skull, indicating a rise in temperature. Yet, later in the day when it's warmer, the holes appear dark, like they were turned off to keep cool."
It turns out that this same mechanism also appears in the skull of Tyrannosaurus rex as well.
"If you're an active predator, as we think T. rex probably was, at some point, you want to be able to shed heat, as much as you want to gather heat," said Holliday.
"Having a bed of capillaries (small blood vessels) up here in the skull roof provides a mechanism for these types of animals to collect heat or shed heat."
Source: BBC News | Comments (4)