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Tyrannosaurus sex: scary monster was a smooth operator  

He's a nice guy, honestly ... Jurassic Park and other movies have got Tyrannosaurus rex all wrong

Friday afternoon fun: what’s love got to do with it? Scientists reveal T rex’s sex secrets

Tyrannosaurus sex: scary monster was a smooth operator  

It made its name by terrorising Earth 66 million years ago, but Tyrannosaurus rex had a sensitive side.

The largest carnivore ever to stomp the planet stood 3m tall and 10m long, and ripped its prey to shreds with dagger-like 20cm teeth.

But … you’ve seen the movies. Those tiny arms meant a hug was definitely out of the question.

When the time came to try a little tenderness, scientists report today, the tyrannosaurus couple preferred what we might have to call a nose job.

It had a snout as sensitive to touch as human fingertips. T rex and its relatives would have used their tactile noses to explore their surroundings, build nests, and carefully pick up fragile eggs and baby offspring.

And, experts now believe, males and females rubbed their sensitive faces together in prehistoric foreplay.

Writing in the journal Scientific Reports, the US authors described how the sensitive skin could have proved crucial to the dinosaur’s love life.

“In courtship, tyrannosaurids might have rubbed their sensitive faces together as a vital part of pre-copulatory play,” they explain.

The findings follow the discovery of a new member of the tyrannosaur family in Montana, US.

The beast is called Daspletosaurus horneri – and no, the name doesn’t come from its sex life.

It translates as “Horner’s frightful lizard”. These dinosaurs lived before T rex, around 74 million years ago and were a lot smaller, about 7m long.

The discovery of unusually well preserved fossil skulls and skeletons of several D horneri were found.

The discovery has redrawn the face of T Rex – far different from the one shown by Hollywood.

Scientists believe it had no lips. Rather, there was a mask of large, flat scales, with regions of tough and protective armour-like skin around the snout and jaws.

The snout’s hard surface was penetrated by numerous small nerve openings, or foramina. These allowed hundreds of branches of the trigeminal nerve to reach the surface of the snout, turning the dinosaur’s face into a sensitive third “hand”.

A similar arrangement is seen today in crocodiles and alligators. Some years ago, US scientists reported the animals rubbed these sensitive bumps on the face and body “profusely” before mating, and found the behaviours “frequently result in what appears to be over-stimulation.”

We’ll leave you with two frightening thoughts: one, don’t ever rub a crocodile’s snout; and two, someone in Hollywood might think it’s a good idea to make yet another Jurassic Park sequel. Possibly X-rated. No, three: who pays people to research the sex lives of creatures that died 66 million years ago?

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