A trip to the dentist could perhaps have saved many a mighty Tyrannosaurus rex.
Holes found in the jawbones of 10 T. Rex – including "Sue" at the Field Museum in Chicago – may not be battle scars from fighting with rivals as previously thought. The holes are more consistent with parasitic infections that gouged holes up to 5 centimetres wide in the bone, says Ewan Wolff at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
His team examined 61 T. Rex jawbones and observed the holes in 1 in 6 of them. They say the lesions do not resemble bites, but instead are akin to the lesions that protozoan parasite Trichomonas gallinae causes in birds – especially birds of prey such as hawks and ospreys.