Skip to main content

Professor Robert Reisz says that contrary to what’s shown in movies and museums, T. Rex would not have teeth that stick out even when their mouths are closed.Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press

One of the world's most famous predators, the fearsome Tyrannosaurus Rex is typically shown baring dozens of sharp, jagged teeth – but a Toronto researcher says the carnivore likely had lips to cover them.

Robert Reisz, a professor at the University of Toronto who specializes in vertebrate paleontology, says that contrary to what's shown in movies and even museums, T. Rex and his fellow theropods would not have teeth that stick out even when their mouths are closed.

His research is set to be presented Friday at a conference of the Canadian Society of Vertebrate Paleontology conference, held at the university's Mississauga campus. The two-day conference begins Thursday.

Reisz says only a few land animals, such as elephants and wild boars, have exposed teeth and these have no enamel.

Meanwhile, the only animal with bared teeth that have enamel is the crocodile, which is aquatic.

Reisz says theropods, which include other well-known dinosaurs such as velociraptors and Albertosaurus, were land animals whose teeth had enamel, making it far more likely they had lips.