Tyrannosaurus rex, one of the largest meat-eating dinosaurs on the planet, had an air conditioner in its head, suggest scientists from the University of Missouri, Ohio University and University of Florida, while challenging over a century of previous beliefs.
In the past, scientists believed two large holes in the roof of a T. rex‘s skull — called the dorsotemporal fenestra — were filled with muscles that assist with jaw movements.
But that assertion puzzled Casey Holliday, a professor of anatomy in the MU School of Medicine and lead researcher on the study.
“It’s really weird for a muscle to come up from the jaw, make a 90-degree turn, and go along the roof of the skull,” Holliday said. “Yet, we now have a lot of compelling evidence for blood vessels in this area, based on our work with alligators and other reptiles.”
Using thermal imaging — devices that translate heat into visible light — researchers examined alligators at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park in Florida. They believe their evidence offers a new theory and insight into the anatomy of a T. rex‘s head.