The T. Rex Had the Most Powerful Bite That's Ever Existed

James Marshall
May 19, 2017

Most of what they have to work with is stone in the shape of bone, and if they're lucky, reasonable comparisons with living creatures - sometimes looking to the present for dinosaur deets can be just as enlightening.

The Tyrannosaurus rex's bone-crushing capacity, known as "extreme osteophagy" is usually seen in carnivorous mammals such as wolves, but not in reptiles, whose teeth do not allow for chewing up bones.

"We didn't go in our study with any preconceived notions or expectations", said FSU professor of biology Gregory Erickson to Newsweek. They can swallow bones if they are not too large, but are unable to crush them with their teeth.

Moreover, the bite marks that are spotted on the fossilised bones of dinosaurs including the horned Triceratops that used to live alongside Tyrannosaurus almost 66 million years ago in Western North America point towards that T-rex was a meat-eater and bone-cruncher. One 2012 Biology Letters study, for instance, reported that T. rex bit with 5,443 kilograms of force. The researchers believe those could have had bite forces up around 18,000 pounds, over twice as high as what T. rex could do.

It's no shocker that the Tyrannosaurus Rex dinosaur used its powerful jaws to shred its prey, but a study published Wednesday reveals more about the power of its bite.

The researchers built on their extensive experience testing and modelling how the musculature of living crocodilians, which are close relatives of dinosaurs, contribute to bite forces. They also looked at birds, which are "modern-day dinosaurs".

T. Rex lacked such dental gear, raising the question of how they managed to shatter resistant bones the size of small tree trunks.

To begin, the researchers developed and tested a 3D anatomical model that predicted the bite forces of the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis). The average bite force of humans only measured at 200 pounds or so.

Along with the enormous bite, the massive dinosaur's long, conical teeth were able to generate an astonishing 431,000 pounds of pressure per square inch of bone.

Previous studies tried to quantify how strong the T. rex's bite was.

The scientists were, however, surprised by the results because they had expected the overall bite force estimate to be higher.

A giant chrome brushed aluminium skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus (T-Rex) dinosaur (R), made by French sculptor and painter Philippe Pasqua, stands at the pier of riverboat company Bateaux-Mouches on June 12, 2013 in Paris, with the Eiffel tower in the background (L).

The giant Tyrannosaurus rex pulverised bones by biting down with forces equalling the weight of three small cars while simultaneously generating world record tooth pressures, according to a new study.

What's more, he says, teenage T. rexs put on an impressive five pounds of mass daily, so the animals certainly benefited from the ability to munch on the bones of prey.

Gignac said T. rex's powerful chompers allowed it to hold whole limbs in its mouth while the dinosaur gnawed.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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