Modern “science”—is there ANYTHING it can’t ruin completely?
T-Rex to Modern Science: Don’t Give Me Any Lip
Breaking news from the Mesozoic Era is a phrase you might not have expected to hear. Nevertheless, recent research suggests the Tyrannosaurus Rex, that terrifyingly toothsome star of the movie “Jurassic Park,” might have had lips.
A study recently published in the well-regarded journal Science proposes as much. Respectfully—for I wouldn’t want to sound lippy around the experts, who I assume aren’t writing with tongue in cheek—I have questions.
First, how can we be so sure? No leviathan lipstick case was unearthed in Uruguay. No oversized Oxford with a telltale red on its collar was found bedside in Bangladesh. No love letter sealed with a kiss was discovered in Denmark.
Such a note would be suspicious anyway, unless we’re also to believe the newly-lipped Tyrannosaurus Rex’s arms were not too short for writing. Were they only metaphorically stubby-armed? Did disinclination to pick up a check contribute to their demise? Paleontology keeps a conspicuous silence.
Much of the case for dinosaur lips turns on the surprisingly low enamel-wear found on the solitary tooth of one Daspletosaurus, a distant T. Rex relative. Modern-day crocodiles, which are lipless, have substantially more outer-tooth enamel-wear than this solitary prehistoric chopper found in the dirt. Ergo, T. Rexes must have had lips.
So it’s “case closed, smoke ‘em if you got ‘em”? According to my dentist, I have more advanced enamel-wear than most men my age. I hope in the distant future nobody digs up my worn-down chicklets and convinces my descendants I was lipless.
This conclusion is really a mouthful. Glad though I am to have skipped the “checking enamel-wear on crocodiles” booth on career day in high school, I wonder: what if this particular dinosaur simply practiced uncommonly good dental hygiene?
I suppose unearthing a Little Black Dress, color-matched clutch purse, and a pair of high-heel pumps all preserved in amber from a T Rex fossil-bone orchard as confirmation of this dino’s perfectly normal, sane, and admirable gender-bender tendencies is a little too much to hope for. But we all know the truth about this cross-dressing, sexually emancipated Thunder Lizard just the same.