Thanks to an exquisite 75-million-year-old fossil, paleontologists have crafted the best-ever reconstruction of a tyrannosaur’s face. The fossil skull belongs to a newly described species named Daspletosaurus horneri, which roamed what is now northern Montana and southern Alberta during the Late Cretaceous. Based on the texture of the bone, the researchers say its face would have been covered in flat scales that were probably extremely sensitive to touch, like those on modern crocodiles.
“Because we have all this soft tissue on our faces, we deal with sensation through all this soft tissue being displaced,” says Tobin Hieronymus, an anatomist and neurobiologist at Northeast Ohio Medical University. “Birds and lizards have [sensors] that directly sit on top of bone, with very thin skin, [so] they have exquisitely sensitive faces.”
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