Motor mouth: T rex could bite with the force of three cars


WASHINGTON:   Scientists have come up with one more reason to be  amazed by Tyrannosaurus rex. When the huge carnivorous dinosaur took a  bite, it did so with an awe-inspiring force equal to the weight of three  small cars, enabling it to crunch bones with ease.

    Researchers today  said a computer model based on the T rex jaw muscle anatomy and  analyses of living relatives like crocodilians and birds showed its bite  force measured about 8,000 pounds (3,630 kg), the strongest of any  dinosaur ever estimated.

    “T rex could pretty much bite through  whatever it wanted, as long as it was made of flesh and bone,” said  Florida State University paleobiologist Gregory Erickson.

     In  quantifying the power of T rex’s chomp, they also calculated how it  transmitted its bite force through its conical, seven-inch (18-cm)  teeth, finding it generated 431,000 pounds per square inch (30,300 kg  per square cm) of tooth pressure, another measure of its power, on the  contact area of the teeth. Bite marks on fossilized bones of  dinosaurs like the horned Triceratops that lived alongside Tyrannosaurus  some 66 million years ago in western North America indicated T rex was  a bone-cruncher.

     The ability to pulverize and eat bones gave T rex,  which was about 43 feet (13 meters) long and weighed about seven tons,  an advantage over competing predators that could not. “Predators with  bone-crunching abilities are able to exploit a high-risk, high-reward  resource: the minerals that make up bone itself and the fatty marrow  that is contained inside,” said paleontologist Paul Gignac of the  Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences, lead author of the  study published in the journal Scientific Reports.

     “The risk is the  potential to accrue extreme tooth damage from biting into bone, making  it difficult or impossible to capture prey effectively or rupture the  long bones of carcasses.

    ” Previous studies have estimated  Tyrannosaurus bite strength but the researchers in the new study called  their approach more sophisticated. Their computer modeling was  developed and tested on alligators, with the researchers studying how  each muscle contributed to the bite force.

    They concluded T rex  possessed the greatest tooth pressure of any creature ever studied. Its  bite force far exceeded that of any living creature, but was not the  greatest ever. For example, they estimated in 2012 an enormous croc  called Deinosuchus, which lived a few million years before T rex and  weighed even more, had a bite strength of 23,000 pounds (10,400 kg). (AGENCIES)