Turns out those images of a T. Rex with teeth bared and tongue wildly stretched are fierce but misinformed. Researchers at UT Austin have concluded that dinosaurs couldn’t stick out their tongues like lizards. Instead, their tongues were probably rooted to the bottoms of their mouths, much like alligators.
The researchers compared the hyoid bones — the bones that support and ground the tongue — of modern birds and crocodiles with those of their extinct dinosaur relatives. The research was published June 20 in the journal PLOS ONE. “Tongues are often overlooked,” says lead author Zhiheng Li. “But they offer key insights into the lifestyles of extinct animals.”